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Cronin irked by Ducks defence on Canucks GWG: 'It's just foolishness'

Dakota Joshua scores on Anaheim Ducks Dakota Joshua scores on Anaheim Ducks - The Canadian Press

Anaheim Ducks head coach Greg Cronin sounded off on defencemen Olen Zellweger and Cam Fowler for their play in the buildup to Dakota Joshua's game-winning goal for the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

With the game tied 2-2 and less than three minutes left, both Ducks defenders chased Canucks forward Conor Garland behind the net, leaving Joshua open for a one-timer to score the deciding goal in his team's 3-2 victory.

“You don't leave the front of the net when the puck is behind your net,” Cronin said, per “They're not scoring from behind the net, just stay there. We've talked about it repeatedly this year, and I don't know what the big - it's just foolishness - what the big urge is to go behind the net when somebody has got a puck and they're not going to score from there.”

The mistake from Zellweger came after he scored his first career goal earlier in the period. Selected 34th overall in the 2021 draft, he has appeared in 19 games this season, posting four points. 

The game-winning goal was not Cronin's only complaint about his team's play, the Ducks' execution on the power play also caught his ire.

“It's a shame. We get a power play with five minutes to go in the game and we don't get a shot on net,” Cronin said. “It didn't do much tonight. I think we had three shots on net in four power plays.

"It's ironic, last night it was a 6-1 (loss to the Edmonton Oilers) but we just took a point shot from the blue line and we tipped it in, and tonight we're trying to make plays. We just didn't generate any scoring chances.”

At 24-47-4, the Ducks have been eliminated from postseason contention for the sixth straight season and first under Cronin. 

The Canucks, who clinched their playoff spot on Saturday, improved to 46-20-8 with Sunday's victory and enter the month of April sitting second in the Western Conference, three points back of the Dallas Stars.