The Anaheim Ducks season, thus far, has been a rollercoaster. They started out the season 4-1-0 and then had a collapse and fell to 10-22-6 by the midway point in the season.
However, since their loss to the New York Islanders on January 6, the Ducks are 7-0-1, earning fifteen out of a possible sixteen points.
Although it appears the Ducks may have turned their season around, they are still only in 13th place in the Western conference. By the numbers, it is highly improbable that the Ducks will be able to earn a playoff spot, but they don’t believe that it’s impossible.
Despite their lackluster first half of the season, something seems to have switched in the Ducks’ organization, and it’s noticeable both on the ice and in the locker room.
When the team was struggling, the players knew something was off, but it appeared that nobody could put their finger on it. However, throughout the course of their current streak, the biggest visible change in the Ducks’ game is confidence. They go in to every game believing that they can win.
“We’re expecting a lot of ourselves right now,” mentioned goaltender Jonas Hiller.
Riding a four-game win streak, the Ducks entered Sunday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche with an urge and a will to win, despite losing to them 4-2 a few weeks earlier on New Year’s Eve.
The Ducks found themselves shorthanded less than two minutes into the first, but Bobby Ryan easily found the net of J.S. Giguere, a former Duck, off a breakaway turn over in the offensive zone. The Ducks only got one other shot on goal in the period, but had a 1-0 lead at the end of the first twenty.
The Ducks continued to be outshot in the second period, but there was no change on the scoreboard.
Early in the third, while the Ducks were on a power play, Ryan Getzlaf got the puck in front of the net and shoved it under Giguere. A few minutes later, Ryan found himself on another breakaway, this time assisted by Getzlaf, and Ducks had a three-goal lead.
Ryan commented on his second goal, “I just tried to make a quick move and get it up because I know he drops his glove. I tried to be patient with it. I got lucky that I put it where I wanted it.”
However, starting with about five minutes left in the period, the Avs were able to net two back-to-back within a minute and a half, from Ryan O’Reilly and Milan Hejduk, one on a four-on-four, the other on a power play.
With just about three and a half minutes remaining, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout, settled his squad down, and despite being outshot 45-18, the Ducks were able to secure the 3-2 victory, winning their fifth straight game.
“That’s all we were focused on tonight, was getting those two points. I know it wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played in a while, but we found a way to get it done,” stated Getzlaf.
Boudreau added, “It was a tough game. Colorado played pretty hard. We were doing our best imitation of Muhammad Ali tonight.”
The Ducks will face off against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday before heading into the All-Star Break.