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Desperate Times

Monday, 03.05.2012 / 12:23 PM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
Desperate Times

Channelling their inner marching band, the Ducks successfully form the shape of an arrow on the ice.
No doubt about it, Saturday night stung.

When you consider the opponent, the venue, the intensity in the building, and just how badly the Ducks needed that one to keep their playoff hopes alive, the 4-2 loss to the dreaded Kings was like a punch in the stomach. (In fact, when Anze Kopitar found the empty net with 14.5 left, you could definitely feel something in your gut.)

For this Ducks fan at least, it was one of those games where you wake up on Sunday morning, remember what happened the night before and think, Damn

But just like with the win over Calgary the night before at home, the Ducks could only afford to think about it for a few minutes -- maybe only as long as the bus ride from LA back to Honda Center -- and move on.

"Don't overthink losses and wins, and just take one game at a time," Luca Sbisa said this morning. "That's what we did back on that road trip. That was just game after game after game, so you didn't really have time to think about what you did last game. I think that's the way we have to approach the games right now."

And while the distance -- seven points -- between the Ducks and the eighth spot in the Western Conference didn't change over the weekend, the owners of that spot did. The San Jose Sharks, who have seemingly bought real estate in the top three spots in the conference over the past several seasons, have gone into a very un-Sharkslike tailspin that has seen them land in eighth. Dallas, which was entrenched in that slot for the past couple of weeks, beat Calgary yesterday on a Sunday that definitely didn't go Anaheim's way.

The Stars' shootout win meant they got two points (to move into seventh with 75) but the Flames also got a point to move four points ahead of the Ducks. Meanwhile, Colorado downed the reeling Wild 2-0 to move six ahead of the Ducks and one out of eighth. We've said it a million times, but it's clear the Ducks aren't going to get any help in their desperate hope for a postseason charge, and have to win and win often in their final 16.

That continues tonight at Honda Center against the Oilers, a quick home appearance before the Ducks have to play at St. Louis (second), Dallas (seventh) and Colorado (10th)  in a five-day stretch.

The Oilers have had the No. 1 pick in the draft the last two years (Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and appear headed for a high pick again this June. They're 10 points behind the Ducks in 14th and have dropped six of their last nine. The Ducks took them down 5-0 in Edmonton back on January 13, part of Anaheim's torrid two-month stretch. Hall, by the way, has a bum shoulder, but did skate with the team this morning, and is expected to play.

Tonight is actually the first time the Oilers have been to Anaheim this season, as the two teams will face each other three times over the final five weeks of the season.

The good news for the Ducks tonight is that nobody in that crowded bunch of eighth-chasers is playing tonight, so a win puts the Ducks five back.

"I've looked at every team's schedule many times over," Bruce Boudreau said. "If we do what we're supposed to do ... there's still 98 points on the board, and if we win them all, I don't think it will take 98 point to make the playoffs. So that means we're still eligible to play."

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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