Anaheim has dropped five of its first seven games and the outlook doesn’t look brighter for the Ducks as they lost both Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Bernier to upper-body injuries Tuesday.
The Ducks’ second run under coach Randy Carlyle hasn’t quite gone according to plan through seven games this season, and it doesn’t seem like Anaheim can catch a lucky break.
After piecing together a short win streak over their past two outings, the Ducks dropped a tight 2-1 game in overtime to the rival San Jose Sharks Tuesday night. Though the loss stings, it’s the potential long-term impact of the contest that could stand to do the most damage in Anaheim as the Ducks lost goaltender Jonathan Bernier and center Ryan Getzlaf to upper-body injuries before the third period.
Bernier, 28, got the nod against the Sharks in place of starter John Gibson, but his evening lasted a mere 20 minutes. In the first frame, Bernier faced 11 shots and allowed a single goal against, but he was forced out of the contest with what Carlyle referred to as a “muscle injury,” according to the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens.
As for Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain was forced to leave the contest after the second period after blocking a shot with his arm. Getzlaf wound up leaving the game following the block, but returned to play out the remainder of the second period before exiting the contest for good.
No updates were available on the status of either Bernier or Getzlaf. Carlyle said the pair would be evaluated again on Wednesday to determine the extent of their ailments, and both could effect the team in much different ways.
When it comes to Bernier’s injury, the worst-case scenario would see him out long term, but even that shouldn’t harm the Ducks in any significant way so long as Gibson can stay healthy. The 23-year-old netminder was pegged to take the bulk of the starts to begin with and has seen action in six of Anaheim’s seven games, making it clear he can handle the heavy workload. While he may have struggled in his first few appearances, he stopped 24 of 25 shots in relief of Bernier on Tuesday and Gibson has only allowed seven goals on the past 94 shots he has faced, good for a .926 save percentage.
And if Bernier is sidelined for a significant period of time, the Ducks can easily turn to Dustin Tokarski as their backup. Tokarski may not be the ideal option, but he’s played well enough in his NHL opportunities to be a serviceable backup in a pinch.
It won’t be as easy for the Ducks to deal with an absence to Getzlaf, however. With eight points in seven games, Getzlaf is Anaheim’s leading scorer, he’s logging nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game and he’s the pivot of the Ducks’ top line. Replacing him is already nearly impossible, but it’s made all the more difficult by the absence of Rickard Rakell.
Rakell, 23, may have a new contract, but the versatile forward still hasn’t been able to suit up for the Ducks as he awaits a visa. The expectation is that Rakell will have the matter sorted out shortly, but it could leave the Ducks without a second legitimate top-six option down the middle for a brief period.
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