On Sunday evening, Bruce Boudreau was the head coach of the Washington Capitals. On Monday morning, he was fired from that position.
On Wednesday afternoon, Randy Carlyle was the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. He coached the Ducks through a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, their first victory in eight games. After the game, it was announced that Carlyle was fired and that Boudreau would be his replacement.
Boudreau’s hiring was the fastest team-to-team head coaching transition in NHL history.
Boudreau said of his transition, “It was crazy. It was strange because it’s never been done.”
Initially, there was a general sense of astonishment surrounding the Ducks by players, fans, and media alike after the announcement had been made.
However, by Thursday’s practice, the players were ready for a new era to begin: Ryan Getzlaf likened the first practice to the first day of school, whereas Bobby Ryan likened it to a first date.
On Friday, the Ducks were set to take on the Philadelphia Flyers, the first opponent Boudreau faced when he was named coach of the Capitals in 2007. In that game, he led the Caps to a 4-3 overtime victory.
Could he lead the Ducks to a similar outcome?
When Boudreau’s name was announced prior to the start of the game, he was received with uproarious applause from the crowd at Honda Center and for the first time in a long while, there was a positive energy abuzz as fans were anxious to see what might unfold.
The Ducks came out strong in the first, with a good energy and a positive mentality. They were also first on the board with a power play goal from Andrew Cogliano about eight minutes in. Then, a couple minutes later, Teemu Selanne scored giving the Ducks an early 2-0 lead.
The Ducks were able to maintain their energy going into the second period and Andrew Gordon netted his first goal in a Ducks’ uniform. However, Jaromir Jagr found the net behind goaltender Jonas Hiller on a power play opportunity, but the Ducks had a 3-1 lead going into the third.
However, the Ducks faltered in the third. The Flyers got two goals in the period to tie it up, including another power play goal from Jagr and the game went into overtime.
The Ducks started off with just under thirty seconds of a power play left to start the five-minute overtime, but almost right after that time expired, Getzlaf was called for double minor of tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Flyers four minutes, the majority of the extra time, with the extra man.
“I think that at the end of the game like that it’s tough to make that call,” Getzlaf mentioned. “I definitely regret what I did. It won’t happen again, I guarantee that.”
Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers with about a minute and a half remaining, giving the Flyers a 4-3 victory (the same score with a different outcome than Boudreau’s debut with the Capitals).
“There’s a lot of positives,” Boudreau stated. “The energy and the enthusiasm one the bench I thought was really good and I knew everybody left everything they had on the ice.”
The Ducks will try to find momentum on Sunday as they face the Minnesota Wild, who are currently in first place of the Western conference.