The Anaheim Ducks season did not get off to a good start this year, opening with a three-game road trip that resulted in three losses. Now about a month into the season, the Ducks are finally starting to put back-to back wins together, instead of losses. During their most recent home stand the Ducks went three-for-three and then went on to beat the Sharks in San Jose in overtime.
The Ducks returned home on Wednesday to face a rare visit from the New York Islanders.
The four consecutive Ducks wins were anything but easy; last Sunday, defenseman Paul Mara scored the game-winning goal with just 1.7 seconds left in regulation and two of the games went into overtime, including Tuesday’s nail-biter in which Lubomir Visnovsky scored with only 32.6 seconds remaining.
Of course the Ducks’ main goal was to keep the momentum going, however, the Islanders were trying to break a streak of their own. They came into the game with seven straight losses and were craving a win.
After two scoreless periods, the Islanders proved to be a tough opponent for the Ducks and, it was obvious that the winner of this game was going to have to fight for the victory.
Luckily for the Ducks, Saku Koivu was able to score 3:40 into the third period and the Ducks went on to win the game 1-0, despite being outshot 27-14.
“These are the types of games that you almost have to win,” Coach Randy Carlyle commented. “In our situation, we couldn’t accept anything other than a win.”
Although the Ducks have now won five games in a row, every single one of those victories is only by a one goal differential, which begs the question: are the Ducks improving or are they just getting lucky?
Four of the five games have been at home, so some might say that home ice advantage plays into the lucky factor a little bit. However, prior to the streak the Ducks were 2-1-1 at home, so they have shown some consistency at home so far this season.
On the other hand, judging by the difficulty level of some of the opponents that they faced, some might say the Ducks have earned these wins. Just ten days prior to Tuesday night’s game in San Jose, the Sharks killed the Ducks by a score of 5-2 in San Jose.
Most people would probably agree that is a mixture of talent and luck, but only time will tell if the Ducks have found their stride or if they are just riding one lucky hot streak.
Curtis McElhinney earned his first NHL career shutout.
Koivu netted his sixth goal of the season and now has a four-game point streak.
The Ducks will continue playing at home on Friday against a division rival, the Dallas Stars.