Anaheim takes three-game losing streak to Arizona

NHL Hockey

The Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes are searching for answers to their recent poor play heading into the first of back-to-back meetings on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz.

The Ducks have lost three in a row, combining for four goals in that span, and their offense has been limited to two goals or fewer in 14 of 18 games this season.

The situation has grown so desperate in Anaheim that the Ducks put their leading goal scorer and point producer from last season, Adam Henrique, on waivers Saturday.

Henrique, who had totaled three goals and one assist in 16 games this season, had not been claimed as of Sunday afternoon.

Arizona has failed to take advantage of a long stretch at home, going 1-2-2 just past the halfway point of a nine-game homestand.

“I don’t worry about the four (remaining home) games, I worry about the first period against Anaheim,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said after a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. “We’ve got to get some guys going, obviously, (and) get some more people scoring for us.”

The Ducks have just one player who has exceeded his offensive expectations so far this season.

Max Comtois has a team-high seven goals for the Ducks, but no other Anaheim player has more than three.

Rickard Rakell, a back-to-back 30-goal scorer for the Ducks from 2016-18, has one goal in 18 games.

Jakob Silfverberg, who had at least 20 goals in four of the past five seasons, has three goals in 18 games.

Rakell and Silfverberg each have failed to score a goal in eight games this month.

Henrique had two goals in February, but that didn’t prevent the veteran center from bearing the brunt of the organization’s frustrations and landing on waivers over the weekend.

“Let’s be very clear on one thing, it’s just not Adam,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’ve had a number of players take great strides and are taking over the game, and we have a number of players that are, for whatever reason, we’ll call it stuck in mud. And we can’t really pinpoint it because we’ve got some guys that are doing very, very well. right now, and we have three or four that are stuck.”

The Coyotes have a few players who are struggling to hit the net as well.

Lawson Crouse has yet to score in 14 games after tallying a career-high 15 goals last season. Christian Fischer, a 15-goal scorer for Arizona in the 2017-18 season, is also looking for his first goal.

Tocchet isn’t looking for individuals to step up as much as he’s looking for Arizona to stick to its style.

“We’ve got to play tight. That’s the type of team we have,” Tocchet said. “We have to be very smart structurally for almost 60 minutes.”

Veteran right winger David Backes said the Ducks also need to work better as a unit.

“That doesn’t happen overnight, where you can just have a closed-door meeting and somebody screams and gets red in the face and, all of a sudden, everyone clicks,” Backes said. “It’s a learned behavior, where you do all those little things that are not glamorous, that don’t end up on the scoresheet, that a lot of people won’t even let you bring into arbitration for your next contract, but when you do them and you win and winning is fun and having success is fun, that becomes perpetual and pervasive in the room.”

–Field Level Media

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