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Home Road Trip Depleted Ducks wrap up road trip mired in 5-game skid – Orange County Register

Depleted Ducks wrap up road trip mired in 5-game skid – Orange County Register

by Staff

Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) becomes entangled with the Winnipeg Jets’ Adam Lowry (17) and the Ducks’ Olen Zellweger (51) during the first period Friday, March 15, 2024, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Ducks landed in Saint Louis to conclude their road trip against the Blues, already battered and tattered from a five-game funk that’s seen them outscored by an average of 4.4 goals per game.

They’ve been shut out in each of their past two matches, adding the seventh and eighth bagels to their bag, which ran their total deficit during the slump to 27-5. The only teams that have been blanked more times this season are also the only clubs below the Ducks in the NHL standings, the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks.

While they won’t be vying for 16 wins in the spring, the Ducks had put together a respectable 16-game stretch heading into March 8’s trade deadline. They compiled a .563 points percentage during that span with an 8-6-2 mark that coach Greg Cronin said suggested they were “figuring out the process” and “gaining traction.” Yet the deadline saw the departures of three more Ducks (Sam Carrick, Adam Henrique and Ilya Lyubushkin), in addition to the January trade of Jamie Drysdale, and then the Ducks were “obliterated by injuries,” Cronin said. The latest absences have been those of stalwart defenseman Radko Gudas (upper-body) and wrecking-ball centerman Mason McTavish (lower-body), who both sustained injuries on this road trip.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but we’re just so heavily depleted,” Cronin said via phone.

McTavish and Gudas joined Leo Carlsson (concussion), Trevor Zegras (ankle surgery), Brock McGinn (upper-body, likely out for the season), Max Jones (illness) and Tristan Luneau (knee infection, out of the season) in the Ducks’ triage unit. Taking into account the four players who were all dealt for either picks or a prospect, more than half a roster’s worth of players was unavailable to the Ducks, including their leading scorer from last season, their best defensemen this year, a former lottery pick on the blue line and their top three centers.

“There’s 11 guys that are gone that were part of our group in October and November,” Cronin tabulated.

Seven of those players were in the lineup against St. Louis on Nov. 19, including two of the three – McTavish and Jones – that factored into the Ducks’ only goal in a 3-1 loss at Honda Center. The third was Alex Killorn, whose four-game goal streak has given way to three matches with a solitary shot on goal and four penalty minutes.

Heading into the second of three meetings, Cronin said his club was focused on generating more offense, improving its discipline and sharpening up its woeful penalty kill. During their five-game skid, they’ve been shorthanded 21 times and allowed 11 goals. They ceded a staggering seven combined power-play goals in two losses to Chicago on Tuesday and to the Winnipeg Jets, who trod upon the Ducks 6-0 after they unraveled in the third period on Friday.

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