|Bruce Boudreau's move behind the bench hasn't ignited the Ducks yet. (US Presswire)|
Updated Dec. 5
When Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice were fired last week it became obvious right away that Anaheim's Randy Carlyle was the next coach sitting on the hot seat. It seemed to be a matter of when and not if the next change would be made.
We didn't have to wait that long. Carlyle was fired shortly after the team's 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. He was immediately replaced by Boudreau, who was on the NHL's unemployment line less than a week. All of this was taking place while trade rumors swirled around one of their best young players, Bobby Ryan.
Pretty chaotic times for a team that made the playoffs last season as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, and is now one of the worst teams in the NHL.
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In the first two games under Boudreau, against Philadelphia and Minnesota, the end result has been the same as it was under Carlyle (a loss), and perhaps even more frustrating for the Ducks and their fans. In both games Anaheim raced out to early, multiple-goal leads, only to watch as the Flyers and Wild skated circles around them over the final 40 minutes. Against the Flyers on Friday the Ducks watched a 3-0 lead disappear during a 4-3 overtime loss, while Minnesota erased an early 2-0 deficit and cruised to a 5-3 win.
They were outshot 83-49 over the two games.
And that's been the story of the season for the Ducks: They can't keep the puck out of their own end of the ice. They're not a particularly good team during 5-on-5 play (and haven't been for a couple of seasons now) and once you get past their top-four forwards (Ryan, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne) the offensive depth is limited at best.
Adding to the problem this season has been the fact their power play and goaltending that did such a wonderful job of carrying them last season has regressed. The power play is still decent, currently scoring on over 18 percent of its chances, and could actually get better based on the number of chances and shots it generates, but it's not scoring enough to make up for how badly the Ducks have been outplayed at even strength.
Even worse, starting goalie Jonas Hiller is struggling between the pipes and is currently playing well below the level he's been at over the first four years of his career.
Whatever the reason, the Ducks have won just three of their past 21 games since starting the year 4-1 and find themselves, once again, at the bottom of this week's rankings.