We’ve spent a fair bit of time extolling the virtues of the Montreal Canadiens, what with their winning streak extending to nine games after Saturday’s victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. But one story that’s lost in the shuffle is that of the Anaheim Ducks, who are 1-5-1 over seven games and have been shut out four times. They’ve only scored six goals, making them the first team to score fewer than seven goals through the first seven games since the 1997-1998 incarnation of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Montreal’s captain Max Pacioretty has seven goals, just to put that in perspective.
The awful start for the Ducks supposedly means the writing is on the wall for head coach Bruce Boudreau, with general manager Bob Murray hoping to test the waters on the recent road trip before making a decision. Now that we know how that road trip went, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that Boudreau is on his way out. We may well be reporting that any minute now, in fact.
Among the Ducks, Mike Santorelli, Richard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm are the only players with more than one point. Corey Perry is still without a goal in seven games, although he has an assist. And Ryan Getzlaf is without a goal as well, matching Perry with just an assist over seven contests.
What’s more, Perry and Getzlaf managed just one shot on goal combined on Saturday night when the Ducks lost to the Minnesota Wild. Perry, he of the $9 million salary, has just 10 shots on goal this season. To his credit, Getzlaf has 19 shots on goal.
Boudreau is in his fifth season with Anaheim after taking over in the 2011-2012 season and he’s been good behind the bench, to say the least. He took the Ducks to first place finishes in their division for the past three years and has pushed them further in the post-season with each passing year.
But the coach is usually the first person people blame when a team that’s supposed to be firing on all cylinders winds up with an impossibly slow start. And Boudreau’s certainly on the block here, without question. The question of whether or not he deserves to be fired doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, sadly.
The reality is that something stinks here. The Ducks shouldn’t be this bad. A team that boasts the likes of Perry and Getzlaf should be more capable of putting the puck in the net and Anaheim should be piling up the wins. Sometimes “shoulds” are just hollow promises, but in this case something has to be done. And something will be done, too, in relatively short order. Bet on it.