They’re falling flat on the ice

DUCKS’ GOALIE John Gibson is having a rough month, as is the entire team (Flickr/Andrew Gardecki).

How the mighty have fallen.

The Anaheim (former Mighty) Ducks were battling at the top of the NHL Pacific Division not too long ago, and now they are in a tailspin, having gone 2-5 for February.

At 25-21-9, with 69 points, they are in fifth place and only one point out of sixth. As things stand right now, they would miss the Stanley Cup playoffs. What’s gone wrong?
“We’re not sneaking up on anybody any more,” said Ducks’ coach Dallas Eakins after Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday at Honda Center. “They firmly know where our offense lies. It lies with a handful of guys.”

Yes, but it also looks like the problem is also in the goal crease.

Over the weekend, the Ducks lost a pair of games by lopsided scores. On Friday, they lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center.  Goalkeeper John Gibson allowed four goals on 20 shots before being pulled. Since the All-Star break, he’s had a 1-4 record with a 5.72-goals against average.

“I think he’s been greatly fatigued,” said Eakins. “We didn’t play very well in front of him. He was in the net for three games in four nights.”

The backup, Anthony Stolarz didn’t do much better on Sunday when the Ducks lost 4-1 to the New York Islanders, also at Honda Center. He yielded four goals on 22 shots.

As for the Los Angeles Kings, they’re doing just fine. They’ve won five games in a row, including a 5-2 win over those same Islanders at The Arena Formerly Known as Staples Center. Over the last 12 games, the Kings have gone 9-1-2 and are in second place in the NHL Pacific at 29-17-7, and are only three points behind the first-place Calgary Flames.

Clippers sailing, Lakers lagging

Chances for the Los Angeles Lakers to qualify for the “real” NBA playoffs instead of the one-and-done “play-in” tournament are getting slimmer and slimmer. They’ve lost three in a row and at 27-33, they’ve fallen into ninth place in the Western Conference, including Sunday’s 123-95 embarrassment at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Conversely, the Los Angeles Clippers have won two in a row, defeating the Lakers and then the Houston Rockets. They’re 32-31 and in eighth in the conference. The top six teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs; teams finishing seventh to 10th go to the play-in. The others stay home.

Sports Calendar

  • Anaheim Ducks: Host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, then the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
  • Los Angeles Kings: Host the Dallas Stars Monday night, then visit the Dallas Stars on Wednesday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, and then host the Lakers on Thursday and the New York Knicks on Sunday.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, and then visit the Clippers on Thursday.

Final Out: “Teams are coming in and playing harder.” That’s LeBron James’ answer for why the Lakers are sinking in the west.

“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica with wire service reports.

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