After three consecutive lackluster performances to begin the season, the Anaheim Ducks are left hoping that a return home can solve some of their problems.
Facing the Vancouver Canucks probably won’t.
A season-opening road trip couldn’t have gone much worse for the Ducks, who were outscored 13-2 and outshot 145-72 while losing each of the three games by at least three goals.
Anaheim’s top line of Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Corey Perry(notes) and Bobby Ryan(notes) remains without any points, with each player posting a rating of minus-3 or worse, and Jonas Hiller(notes) was pulled from Monday’s 5-1 loss to St. Louis after allowing four goals on 34 shots.
“Obviously, the sun is going to come up tomorrow - we hope,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “What you have to do is take a self-analysis of what we can do better. There’s lots of areas for us to improve in as a team.”
The Ducks have a few other reasons for hope, including their 25-11-5 home record from last season. They also stumbled to an 0-4-0 start in 2008-09 but recovered to reach the playoffs.
“It’s only three games,” Perry said. “There’s 79 more to go. But it’s tough to start the season 0-3.
“(The Blues) had 50-some shots, and that doesn’t help. The puck’s going the other way. We just need to get some of those on our stick and get the garbage goal we need to get us going.”
Goals have been tough to come by against Luongo, who has stopped 72 of 74 shots through Vancouver’s first two games, including a 41-save performance in a 2-1 win over Florida on Monday night.
Luongo is savoring the strong start after he struggled in the playoffs against Chicago last spring and relinquished his team captaincy in the offseason.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s nice to get off on the right foot,” Luongo said. “But it’s a long year.”
The Canucks (1-0-1) are chasing their third consecutive Northwest Division title, and the Sedin twins appear primed to again carry a heavy load.
Vancouver’s offense, however, has yet to click into gear, totaling three goals in two games after ranking second in the NHL with 272 last season.
“As a team we need to get guys in front of the net and work hard to get the goals,” Daniel Sedin said. “Last year the goals came easy to us but if we need to win 2-1, that’s fine with us.”
There was no lack of offense last season between these teams, who combined for 27 goals in splitting four meetings.