ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks players wear t-shirts around the locker room with the words “BODIES BODIES BODIES” written on the back.
Unless they’re taking a collection of said bodies in the bowels of Honda Center, the statement is probably in reference to one of the main tenets of Randy Carlyle’s coaching style: get bodies to the front of the net.
The message rang true for the Ducks on Friday night. Despite outshooting the Oilers 40-23, the Anaheim lost, 2-1.
The Ducks played overwhelmingly better in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, but the start wouldn’t indicate that.
Andrej Sekera gave the Oilers the lead 1:05 into the game.
It was a soft goal by Gibson.
When Gibson was asked in the post-game scrum about the goal, he answered with, “It just went in the net.”
(THANKS CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!)
Trying to get Gibson to elaborate as to if he didn’t get a good look at it or something else happened, he said, “Happens, right?”
That subject would clearly no longer be discussed.
The team in front of Gibson threw 85 shot-attempts (40 shots on goal, 18 attempts blocked, 27 (!!) missed shots) at Cam Talbot and it resulted in one goal.
Cam Fowler nearly had a breakaway late in the third. The normally smooth skating defenseman lost his footing. Watching him describe it after the game is heart-wrenching.
Scrub to 1:53 in the video below to watch him describe it.
“We did enough to win the game,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid. “I think we can take a positive from that.
“Should we have won the game? Maybe not, but we did just enough and [Talbot] was great for us. We can take that and maybe feel like we stole one, I’m not too sure but we’ll take it and run.”
Aside from missed opportunities, to the Ducks the key came down to ‘BODIES BODIES BODIES.’
“We’ve got [to do] a better job getting in front of [Talbot] so he can’t see some pucks,” said Ryan Getzlaf. “The ones he did see, a lot of them hit the post. That’s just a sign of what we have to do.”
“I was happy with our effort, said Randy Carlyle after the game, “But … I didn’t think we had enough net presence on the goaltender. Talbot got to see too many pucks.”
Jakob Silfverberg scored the lone goal for Anaheim with the aid of traffic in front.
“We’re taking a lot of shots, but I think a lot of them he’s having a little bit too easy a time to pick them up, said Silfverberg. “Just make sure to go a little bit harder and battle a little bit harder in front of their net, and hopefully we’ll screen him and push him back a little bit further in the net and make it a little more difficult for them.”
The loss gives the Ducks another 0-2 series hole to dig themselves out of. It’s something they’re familiar with and have overcome before.
“I wouldn’t call [the 0-2 deficit] daunting by any means, said Fowler. “It’s tough, for sure. They were able to come in here and steal two. We’ve been in this position before. Nashville came in and stole two from us [last season] and we went to their place and won two also.
“By no means is it impossible; certainly not how we scripted it. There’s still plenty of life left in this group. We’re going to make sure we fight and claw and like I said try and win one in their building. That’s our next focus.”
Anaheim flies to Edmonton on Saturday ahead of Game 3 on Sunday.
There are two off days between Games 3 and 4. The Ducks coaching staff opted to take the team out of Edmonton after Sunday’s game and head to Kelowna, B.C.
“We felt with the game being early on Sunday … with the two day break that it would be good to get away by ourselves a little bit and do our thing,” said Carlyle. “It’s about calming things down. Calm the nerves and settle down.
“We’ll go over there and practice Monday and Tuesday there and come back into Edmonton on Tuesday evening and get ready to play the game Wednesday. It was just an option that was made available to us.”
The city of Edmonton is going to be absolutely insane while the Oilers are in town. Getting the Ducks out of it isn’t a bad idea.
Depending on the outcome of Game 3, the team will be in Kelowna prepping to even up the series, or to keep their season alive.