Among the many great deeds accomplished over the years, “The Great One” uttered the now famous phrase: “You miss 100% of the photos you don’t take. ”
Wayne Gretzky’s words are considered a hallowed tenant in hockey locker rooms as well as high school classrooms.
With that in mind, it wasn’t hard to see why the Ducks lost a 3-1 decision Thursday to the Minnesota Wild at the Honda Center. They just didn’t take enough shots to score and win. Or more specifically, they didn’t shoot enough shots on goal to win.
Seven of their 12 forwards in the lineup failed to hit a single shot, which helped explain why they were outplayed 27-17. They directed 26 more shots towards the net that were blocked or missed the mark, but there was a pass-first mentality that turned out to be costly.
Max Comtois, Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, Max Jones, Isac Lundestrom, Rickard Rakell and Troy Terry each offered a bagel in the penalty shootout column. The Ducks have been limited to one goal for the seventh time in 17 games this season.
Without a doubt, a two-man 1:06 advantage in the first half seemed like the time to shoot at will and take command of the game, or at least add to the Wild’s 2-0 lead. . The Ducks failed to save a shot on goal in their 5v3 and only had one in the 5v4 that followed.
A day later, Ducks coach Dallas Eakins demanded more selfishness from his players.
“It’s interesting when you ask your team to be more selfish because it’s usually the last thing you want in your locker room,” he said. “You can have great people, you can have top people, but we’re not looking for sons-in-law here, we’re looking to win hockey games. ”
Are the Ducks just too nice, too selfless for their own good?
“They really love each other, but we need a little selfishness there,” Eakins said.
What’s the best way to get players to be more selfish?
“I don’t have to go get a stat sheet and say, ‘Hey, you got no shots on goal,’” Eakins said. “These guys know. These guys have a high character and they take it personally. They also own it. They are everything you want in great teammates and guys who care.
“For me, it’s about starting the conversation or showing them the room and asking, ‘What were you thinking here?’ And I don’t mean, ‘What were you thinking?’ I mean, ‘What are you actually thinking here? What is your process on this entry? ‘ It’s great to hear it through their mouths.
“This is where the conversation begins.”
Hampus Lindholm’s status for Saturday’s rematch against the Wild was uncertain, but it looked like Eakins was ready to play without his best defender. An unspecified lower-body injury forced Lindholm out of the game in the second half on Thursday.
“He’s still being evaluated,” Eakins said of Lindholm, the Ducks’ leading scorer among their defensemen with two goals and four assists. “Very questionable if he will be ready for (Saturday). We’ll have to take another look at it once it’s installed.
Andy Welinski, who hasn’t scored a goal in three games, could replace Lindholm in the roster. The Ducks were already without another of their best defensemen, Josh Manson, who contracted an oblique muscle in a Jan. 18 game against the Wild and is expected to be out for six weeks.
There is also another option.
General manager Bob Murray could recall Jamie Drysdale from the AHL Ducks, San Diego Gulls, and give the sixth pick in the 2020 Draft his first NHL exposure. Drysdale had two goals and four assists in six games heading into Friday’s game at Bakersfield.
Murray is believed to like to give Drysdale and left winger Trevor Zegras, the Ducks’ first-round pick in 2019, more than a handful of AHL games before promoting them to the NHL, however. Drysdale and Zegras helped lead the Gulls to six-game winning streak to start the season.
The Ducks sent defenseman Brendan Guhle to the Gulls on a long-term injury conditioning loan. He has been sidelined for all 17 games after sustaining a knee sprain in a scrum last month at training camp. The Ducks have also assigned defenseman Kodie Curran to the Gulls.
Minnesota to Ducks
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Or: Honda Center
How to watch: First