Forty-four games into the compacted NHL season, the Anaheim Ducks have sat atop the Pacific Division the entire time; a stellar 18-3-3 record midway through the season will do that. Teams are down to roughly four games left to play and the Ducks’ comfy cushion between its freeway foe and upstate rivals have dwindled down from 11 points to five.
The Ducks have two games remaining against the Edmonton Oilers followed by a game apiece against the Vancouver Canucks and the Phoenix Coyotes. The Ducks are 3-1-2 this season against those clubs; only losing out on four points out of a possible 12. I’d like to say that those are some good odds for a team that’s finishing its season, but most of these games dated back to when the team was scoring and finding ways to win.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Ducks would play the Minnesota Wild. Anaheim fans would let out a huge sigh of relief if this were the case because the Ducks have had their number all season long; sweeping the series 3-0. Here are the Ducks’ records against the remaining clubs that they could face in the playoffs:
Columbus Blue Jackets: 1-1-2
St. Louis Blues: 2-0-1
San Jose Sharks: 2-2-1
Los Angeles Kings: 2-2
Detroit Red Wings: 1-2
If only the postseason started today or the standings weren’t so tight. The Ducks have four games left and they need to win the majority of them not just for the sake of the matchup, but also for the sake of their confidence –as they’ve fallen off the horse a bit and have lost four straight.
The last time the Ducks won their division in ’07, it resulted in the first Stanley Cup championship for the West coast and for the state of California. If Anaheim can pick up on their old ways, dating back from the start of the season, there’s a good possibility that history could repeat itself.
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