Road trips are excellent for team bonding and camaraderie, but the Anaheim Ducks just want to play better when they visit the New York Rangers on Monday night.
The Ducks were embarrassed in the opener of their five-game road trip on Saturday night, losing 7-1 to the New York Islanders.
“It’s embarrassing for everyone,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think this is where you’ve got to (do) a little bit of soul-searching. It should hurt like (heck).”
The Islanders scored five goals on Anaheim goalie John Gibson, ending his night after two periods. They tacked on two more in the third period against backup Anthony Stolarz.
“It started turning into odd-man rush after odd-man rush,” Eakins said. “I certainly wasn’t going to have any more of that for John going into the third.”
The lone bright spot for the Ducks was another goal by Troy Terry, giving him three in the first two games.
The Rangers will be trying to bounce back after a loss as well.
New York won its first two games before losing 4-1 at the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
The Rangers tied the score 1-1 early in the third period, but then surrendered three straight goals.
“Outside of that first and that third, I think we know what works for us,” New York captain Jacob Trouba said. “We just got away from it a little bit (Friday) night. We’re not going to play perfectly every game this year, so we’ll learn from it and address it going forward.”
Rangers forward Ryan Carpenter left the game in the second period because of a laceration on his left ear and side of head. He did not practice on Sunday and is listed as day to day.
Vitali Kravtsov returned to practice for the first time since departing a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday following a hit from Victor Hedman, but the right wing was wearing a yellow non-contact jersey.
Sammy Blais, another forward who sustained an upper-body injury in New York’s final preseason game, remains out.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant scratched third-year defenseman Zac Jones against the Jets and inserted Libor Hajek in the lineup, but Hajek was charged with three giveaways in the game.
The Rangers will get their first look at Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, who left New York and signed with Anaheim in the offseason. Both scored in a season-opening 5-4 overtime win against the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday.
The Ducks could come back with Gibson in goal, though they also play Tuesday at the New Jersey Devils. Gibson has struggled against the Rangers in his NHL career, going 2-3-3 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .891 save percentage compared with a 5-2-0 mark against the Devils with a 1.75 GAA and .936 save percentage.
Regardless of who is in goal against the Rangers, Eakins is hoping the defense plays tighter than it did against the Islanders.
“We have an excellent goaltender, we have a world-class goaltender, but we can’t just rely on him to do it all himself,” Eakins said. “We’ve got lots of guys who can score here and make plays, but you can’t win in this league unless you’re willing to play good-layered defense.”
–Field Level Media