For the first time since 1999 the Anaheim Ducks have been the victim of a four-game sweep. It is difficult to comprehend how a team with the star power such as Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, John Gibson, Ryan Kesler, etc. could lose in four straight games.
Throughout the short-lived series, the Ducks were never able to get anything going offensively. Averaging 33 shots per game in this four-game series, the Ducks got offensive opportunities but Martin Jones was nothing short of a brick wall. A .970 save percentage with one shutout, Jones was on top of the competition since the first drop of the puck.
However, if you’re the Ducks, you can’t allow one player to knock you out of the playoffs in just four games. Anaheim has plenty of offensive firepower to choose from when it comes to scoring goals and if you want to win, you have to adapt.
The Ducks didn’t adapt and really did nothing at all to take games into their own hands. Getzlaf had two assists in four games but was a -4 in total. He also received a total of 16 penalty minutes including a game misconduct in game three which happened to be an embarassing 8-1 loss for Anaheim.
Kesler also had just two assists in four games. Rakell scored just one goal this series in the 8-1 game three loss and in total was a -4. Corey Perry who is supposed to be the Ducks elite goal scorer had zeros across the board for all four games and was a -5.
The salary of these players combined is just over 27 million which is 36 percent of the entire salary cap for the Ducks. These players are making the big bucks to step up in moments like these and win games. Over a third of the salary cap is going to these four forwards and they only got five points in four games but collectively were abysmal on defense with a total -13 rating.
Beyond offense, a Cam Fowler-less defense didn’t provide much help either. Evander Kane, Eric Fehr and even some of the Sharks own defensemen seemed to be too much for the Ducks defense. A series filled with weak play, bad decisions and lack of structure doomed the Ducks blue line.
Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was consistently knocked off the puck in the Ducks defensive zone creating troubles in Anaheim’s breakout plays. Andy Welinski and Brandon Montour were pretty much stagnant throughout not providing much for the efforts of the Ducks.
In one instance of a bad decision in game one, Hampus Lindholm sloppily passed the puck up and out of his zone to Ducks forward Adam Henrique and under the impression that the coast was clear, made his way (slowly) to the Ducks bench. The Sharks quickly and efficiently received the bad pass, transitioned into the Ducks zone, created a 3-on-1 chance and put the puck in the back of the net before Lindholm was even on the bench.
In game two, Montour had a 2-on-1 opportunity with Anaheim’s leading goal scorer in Rakell and instead of passing the puck over to Rakell for a great scoring opportunity, Montour fired the puck over the net with absolutely no rebound and the Sharks broke out of their zone and went back the other way with the puck.
A series of poor choices like these plagued the Ducks throughout the series and effectively destroyed any chances of the Ducks winning games. Speaking of poor decisions, lack of discipline also destroyed the Ducks chances of doing anything positive.
In four games, the Ducks managed to rack up a whopping 56 penalty minutes to the Sharks 32. The Sharks were 6 for 20 on the powerplay in this series. Take away even half of those penalty minutes for the Ducks and this could have been a different series. There were some questionable officiating decisions in games one and two that even caught the attention of Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle but that shouldn’t matter.
Objectively when considering all aspects before and during this series, this was probably the worst playoff series in Ducks franchise history. The Ducks have been swept 4-0 twice before but one of those times was against the defending two-time champion Detroit Red Wings and the other was in their very first playoff run.
For a team with a heavy amount of star power coming from all aspects of the game, this cannot be acceptable. In a transition period where the Anaheim Ducks young stars aren’t quite ready to hit the big leagues, the championship window has to be closed now if it wasn’t before.