Our Ducks lost what turned out to be a game of bounces. Games like that stay with you and you replay your own part over in your mind looking for that one that one thing you might have done differently.
As a player you know that you’re not supposed to do this but you can’t change your programming either. What you don’t deal with consciously is pushed into your subconscious. Besides, we all know we learn more from our mistakes than our successes in life.
You think Perry doesn’t want a shot or two back? Or Getz his breakaway? That Palmieri isn’t seeing the knob of Howard’s stick? Or why when Etem successfully drew Howard off the post and again went short side did he ring it off the metal? is it the difference between his forehand and backhand?
So you focus. Not in a self-incriminating way. That truly is destructive. You do it in a clear, objective way searching for the what if I had done something else instead. You ask yourself if you had options.
Sometime today our Ducks will awake in the familiar surroundings of their own beds. Each guy will begin the process of getting ready for Wednesday. The truly pivotal 5th game. Each guy will bring a quiet determination to seize the moment.
A coach does the same thing but he looks at the big picture. Some of the questions Gabby will ask himself are, why did we stop pushing and try to nurse a 1 goal lead? You know the 46 shots were mostly from the low shooting percentage areas of the perimeter. For the most part you know your guys defended well.
Toward the end of this process, coach and player find themselves on the same page. The player knows what’s coming. Lots of puck handling and skill work at practice.
It doesn’t matter how many games or how many series you’ve been through. You never know if you can successfully execute a play and finish a team off until you’ve beaten them.
If not for a couple of fortuitous OT bounces, the proverbial fat lady would have closed the show on these Red Wings last night. There’s no question that our Ducks are the better of the two teams in this series. The only question is are they better enough to prove it.