Getting Your Ducks On a Roll
Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 7:30 AM PT
|"You've got something in your hair, Bob."
The Anaheim Ducks, on the other hand, played some of their best hockey of the season, and pieced together the type of streak we have been awaiting for months.
The Ducks pulled off a triumphant three-game voyage through Western Canada, winning their fifth game in the last six in the process, and coming within a whisker in Calgary of owning a six-game win streak. And they saved their best win for last, a convincing 4-2 victory Sunday night over the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks (back near the top of the conference once again). That win -- in the Canucks' barn, no less -- came two nights after the Ducks routed Edmonton 5-0 in their building (notable for a team that had only three road wins in the season's first half.)
In both wins, the Ducks did it with a stingy defense in front of Jonas Hiller making pretty much all the saves they needed him to make. Meanwhile, the Ducks are pouring in goals at the other end. "I looked up in the second period with five minutes to go and said, Holy crap, they only had five shots on goal." Boudreau said of the Vancouver game. "This is unheard of for the Canucks. So I was really proud of them.
"It was the same thing in Calgary, when they had six shots at the end of two periods. If you keep it up, I'll start to think it's not luck anymore."
For the Ducks, it's the kind of win streak (or points streak) we knew they had in them. We just expected it in November or December. As it is, they're still 14th in the West with a 15-22-7 record. But they're 5-1-1 since the return of Jason Blake (maybe a coincidence, maybe not). They're unbeaten in regulation since George Parros chopped off his hair at his Cut for the Kids event on January 5 (definitely a coincidence).
The Blake stat seems less of a coincidence after the game the 38-year-old Blake turned in Sunday night, scoring two goals and adding an assist. He also had a goal among the five Friday night in Edmonton.
"It was a great night for our hockey club," Blake said. "We know how important it is for us to move forward. We've got to take care of ourselves. I think right now we can't look at the standings.
"The only way we can keep this going is it's up to us in this room."
The Ducks, like a lot of us, got a well-deserved day off yesterday (well-deserved for them, not necessarily us.)
Today they get after it again at Honda Center, preparing for a three-game home stretch that starts with Phoenix tomorrow and continues with a rare home back-to-back this weekend against Ottawa and Colorado.
"We're jumping on it," Boudreau said. "We're hoping it's springing us. It's something where we think we've gotten better every game. To give up three goals on this trip and to start scoring four and five goals a game ... We're a long ways away. But we're making headway."