The Anaheim Ducks faced the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. This was my first time at the Honda Center, and it is a pretty nice facility. Click on one of the thumbnails below to see the external shots I took:
Coming off a lose in their first game of the season, I thought the Ducks would come out strong for their home opener, but they were anything but strong. The Ducks played a confused brand of hockey throughout the entire game, with some sparkle of their Stanley Cup team in the second half of the third period. But by that point, the game was just simply out-of-reach.
The game was definitely the Ducks to lose. The Coyotes are an exciting team, with a ton of young stars, that head coach Wayne Gretzky is keeping in line, but they were definitely taking a backseat to the Ducks play. Time and time again, the Ducks had errant pass after errant pass, and truly sloppy play. It seemed like they could not get out of their rut of bad offensive zone dump-ins, and untimely turnovers in the neutral zone. The second goal of the game by the Coyotes started with a simple change-of-possession in the Coyotes defensive zone, which lead to a break-away goal.
There were two total fights, and one scuffle early on. I took a picture of the first scuffle, and video of the two fights. Needless to say, the Ducks players were not happy about the way the game was going. The second fight actually took place with 0.03 seconds left in the game, and it was an all-out hockey brawl. Here is the shot of the first scuffle:
Brian Sutherby gave a punishing, yet clean hit in the second period, which led to the first fight of the game. While the Ducks did lose the game, they won the fights, if that counts for anything. Video taken of the first full-on fight, between Brian Sutherby (Ducks) & David Hale (Coyotes):
To even out all this brute testosterone, the Honda Center affords us a delicious taste of the Ducks' girls. Nothing quite as appealing as hot girls cleaning ice:
Tons of fans had already left the Honda Center when the second fight broke out. As I mentioned earlier, the fight took place with 0.03 seconds left in the game, so it was obvious the Ducks were not coming back, down 2-4 with a few minutes left in the game. I was not able to capture the entire fight, primarily because everyone was standing up and getting ready to leave. My guess is the Ducks were pretty pissed that they played so horribly in front of their fans, that they at least wanted to give them something worth their money - what showmen!
The story of the game was the Ducks sloppy play, and the Coyotes sitting back, waiting to find their openings. Add to that some horrible defense from the Ducks - at times leaving Giguere without a chance - and the amazing play of Coyotes' netminder, Ilya Bryzgalov, and you quickly understand why the Ducks lost 2-4. The Ducks should have won this game, but they just were not mentally playing as a team, and really only had some focus when putting on some big hits.
As a last thought, here are some saves that Bryzgalov made to keep the game in the Coyotes favor, and a couple big hits from the Ducks: