Anaheim Falls To #1 Team In The West Due To Poor Defense

Bri Repetto

Video Credit: Colorado Avalanche Twitter

Back and forth this season the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks fight for a victory. It goes Avalanche, then Ducks, then Avalanche again, Ducks once more, however Avalanche comes back to strike twice. Anaheim goaltender Ryan Miller manages to hold the net well despite the five goal final. Many of the goals that he faced were ones that he had no chance of recovering on, with a lack of defense in front of him he was fighting a tough fight on his own. 

The fifth goal by Colorado was an incredibly hard shot for any goaltender to stop. Cale Makar comes around the net for the wrap around, but instead passes the puck to Valeri Nichushkin awaiting on the far end of the net literally all by himself. He receives the pass and puts it into the empty slot to the left as Miller guarded the right side of the post. Duck’s players Isac Lundestrom and Danton Heinen were close enough that one of the two could have applied pressure to Nichushkin in an effort to lift his stick or poke the puck away. However, Lundestrom got caught up in chasing Makar even though Jamie Drysdale had followed him around the net. The puck slipped by Josh Manson as well on its way over to Nichushkin, who also could not get his stick on it. All around faulty play by the Ducks that resulted in an opportunity for Colorado. 

Despite this however, the Ducks did have some chances of their own with a tying goal in the first and a second goal in the third that put them down by one. A part of the reason why they didn’t have a larger score is due to the fact that they only had 15 shots on goal the entirety of the game, less than one third of the shots that Colorado received. Makes you wonder why they put Trevor Zegras down on the taxi squad as he would have been a key player to add into this matchup due to the fact that he is skilled with the puck and crafty to score goals. It would be no question to me that he would have had amazing opportunities in this game for the Ducks and could have aided in an assist or potential goal. From what I gather it doesn’t look like the taxi squad is a long term position for Zegras, however it must be hard for Anaheim and fans alike to be without a key figure in their lineup. 

Looking towards the Colorado Avalanche, they had a phenomenal game having 48 shots on goal and converting on five of those chances to win by a three goal majority. Due to the fact that Makar has been out of the lineup in all the other games against Anaheim this season having finished with three assists tonight shows his strength as an offensive-defesemen. The games without him have been back and forth with a majority being close in scores. However his presence in the lineup tonight really helped to lift the Avalanche to a 5-2 victory with both his defensive capabilities as he had blocked multiple shots with one going off his skate in the first as well as, his offensive skills with his three assists.

The Avalanche and Ducks aren’t due to play each other again until April 9. By then we may see the return of Zegras to the lineup and as of now I would expect to continue to see Makar as well. The Avalanche have a tough lineup with captain Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and goaltender Philipp Grubauer that prove their worth as the #1 team in the Western division. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they sit last in the division, but have valuable players to them that can once again lift them to victory if they could strengthen up their defense some more. 


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