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Ducks are adrift on the home ice

In front of many empty seats at the Honda Center, the Ducks appear to be focused elsewhere as the St. Louis Blues shut them out, 5-0.

October 18, 2009|Robyn Norwood

The empty seats at the Honda Center on Saturday suggested Ducks fans were more interested in the Angels' American League Championship Series game against the New York Yankees.

The way the Ducks played suggested they were more interested in relaxing at home than playing the St. Louis Blues.

The Ducks turned in their weakest performance of the season against a far more eager Blues team that had lost three in a row. The Ducks ended up 5-0 losers in front of an announced crowd of 14,902.

The Blues' Andy McDonald, a former Duck, scored his second and third goals of the season, and Patrik Berglund, Carlo Colaiacovo and TJ Oshie each added one.

"They out-skated us," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said.

Blues goaltender Ty Conklin made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season and the 11th of his career.

It was the second time in three games the Ducks have been shut out, along with a 3-0 road loss to the New York Rangers last Sunday. Sandwiched in between was a solid performance in a win against the Minnesota Wild.

"It's the fact we're coming out some nights, and not coming out some nights," center Ryan Getzlaf said.

The Ducks blew three power-play opportunities in the first period, and it got worse in the second. They gave up two goals, were outshot 17-4 and threw away a gift-wrapped four-minute power play with a penalty of their own.

Carlyle tried to stir things up by making his first goaltending change of the season, pulling Jonas Hiller for Jean-Sebastien Giguere after the Blues went up, 3-0, but it didn't make much difference.

"I didn't think he was as sharp as he needed to be and we weren't very good," Carlyle said. "I thought Jiggy came in and gave us an opportunity and made some stops for us."

Goaltending won't be Carlyle's concern. It will be the demeanor of his team and, once again, the special teams.

The Ducks went 0 for 5 on their power play, perhaps worst of all wasting their opportunity when the Blues' Darryl Sydor was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking in the second.

It appeared on replays it might not have been Sydor's stick that nicked the Ducks' George Parros, but the stick of Parros' teammate Ryan Carter instead.

But the Ducks did nothing with the gift, and a hooking penalty against the Ducks' Bobby Ryan wiped out the final 1:55 of the power play.

"That could have been a momentum-changer for us, absolutely," Ryan said. "Then I get a penalty that takes away the momentum completely."

Much of the Ducks' off-season focus was on strengthening their scoring depth. The signing of Saku Koivu helped make former second-line center Andrew Ebbett expendable, and Ebbett was claimed on waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday after the Ducks exposed him Friday.

The Ducks' problems Saturday seemed less about personnel and more about approach as they settle into a stretch of nine of 10 at home after a difficult season-opening trip.

"I think maybe we're taking it for granted, going on a long homestand right now," Ryan said.

"We need to take care of our building," Getzlaf said. "We're going to go to work tomorrow and get back on track here."

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robynnorwood@verizon.net

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