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All They Do Is Win Win Win

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 10:54 AM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
All They Do Is Win Win Win

"Fellas, relax. I've done this 656 times."
It may not have been quite right to say it before, but we can certainly say it now:

The Anaheim Ducks are in the playoff race.

And how have they done it? How have they gotten to within six points of the eighth spot in the West after being 20 back as recently as six weeks ago? With an astonishing 14-2-3 sprint that has culminated with what has to be their most impressive road victory of the season, last night.

The Ducks didn't get into Pittsburgh until the early morning, hours after a heart-stopping 2-1 victory in Minnesota. They had to face a very good Penguins team that hadn't lost at home in the last six and hadn't lost to the Ducks there in 11 years. And Anaheim went down early on a beauty of a first period goal by Jordan Staal.

But that hardly discouraged these Ducks, whose defense and the still-scorching Jonas Hiller gave up nothing else the rest of the way, and Anaheim got all the scoring it needed from their usual suspects. Corey Perry, at the end of a long shift for him, undressed Zbynek Michalek before slipping a close-in shot past the previously infallible Marc-Andre Fleury. Then in the third, Matt Beleskey (also laboring at the end of a lengthy shift) made a gorgeous backhand pass on the rush to a barely-onside Teemu Selanne, who beat Fleury with a Selanne-esque backhand inside the near post. Said broadcaster John Ahlers of Beleskey, "He found enough energy to find The Flash!"

(I like that.)



“He’s in shape because it was about a three-minute shift,” Bruce Boudreau said. “I was yelling at him to get off. He positioned himself well and when he got the puck, he made a fabulous backhand pass.”

Added Beleskey: “I think I started losing oxygen and just blacked out for a while. It was good though.”

And of Selanne, Bruce Boudreau said, "There's a reason he's got a jillion goals in this league." Well, not quite a jillion, but the 656th of his career tied him for 12th all time with Brendan Shanahan.

Selanne was asked about the fact Boudreau kept him out of much of the victory in Minnesota the night before, including a good part of the third period. “I missed probably three shifts,” he said to the OC Register (check out more on that here). “That’s nothing. To be honest, I was dead tired for some reason. And it happens. A lot of times when you feel like that, it’s not the greatest place to be.

“This is about team effort. Everybody has done the job. That’s what makes this team special.”

Boudreau was clearly pumped with the win last night, as the TV cameras caught him shaking assistant coach Brad Lauer's hand on the bench, then promptly punching him in the arm (photo at right).

And the Ducks' heart in this one was never better exemplified than in the final seconds, as they nursed a one-goal lead and Toni Lydman went to a knee to sacrifice his body and block an Evgeni Malkin shot. 

"This game was huge for us," Selanne said. "We got here at like 3 in the morning. They came out pretty hard and controlled the first period and then we got into the game. This team is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and even though we got behind we believed we could come back."

That's a world of difference for a Ducks team that once owned the worst road record in the league, but is now a remarkable 7-1-3 in the last 11 games away from home. Their 14-3-3 record since the new year is good for 31 standings points, tops in the NHL with Detroit. Anaheim may not be blowing anyone out lately, but its +20 goal differential since January 1 is also first in the league. The Ducks also returned to .500 (24-24-9) for the first time since October 30.

They're just six points now behind Phoenix in eighth (with the same number of games played now), but can't stop now. They need to keep rolling on this mammoth road trip that continues tomorrow night in New Jersey.

"The morale is high," Bobby Ryan told ESPN.com. "We're all realizing there could be something special that happens here for us this year."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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