By AJ Manderichio
The 2013-14 season was filled with new franchise records, player milestones, incredible comeback victories, and of course, memories of Teemu Selanne. Anaheim concluded the season with a record of 54-20-8, the best mark in club history. The Ducks finished with the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history and set season records for standings points (116), wins (54) and win/points percentage (.707). In addition, the Ducks led the league in goals (263) for the first time in club history (excluding shootout tallies) and established season bests for goals (263), home wins (29) road wins (25), home points (62) and road points (54). AnaheimDucks.com will count down the top 25 moments from past season in the coming weeks. Here is the fourth installment: 6-10.
10. April 9, 2014
Ducks Clinch Pacific Division
The Pacific Division has long been one of the most difficult in the league, and realignment did nothing to weaken that claim. With longstanding rivals San Jose and Los Angeles already in the mix, the Ducks would now face a strong Vancouver Canucks squad five times a year, while upstarts Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix also joined the fray. As the season progressed, it was clear this division would remain one of the most difficult in the entire league. From the fray, two emerged as a legitimate threat to bring home the top spot – the Ducks and rival Sharks.
The late-season matchup between the two teams served as a Pacific Division title game. The atmosphere inside Honda Center was electric, with the game possessing all the makings of a postseason battle. Led by Patrick Maroon’s first career two-goal performance and a 36-save performance from rookie John Gibson, the Ducks took down their rivals, 5-2, to clinch the franchise’s third division title.
9. April 12, 2014
Ducks Clinch Top Spot in West
The Pacific Division wasn’t the only battleground for the Ducks this season. The team faced stiff competition for the top spot in the Western Conference, vying with various conference powers during the season. San Jose continued to pose a threat, while traditional powers Chicago and St. Louis pushed for conference supremacy. The upstart Avalanche also threatened to finish first, leading to a packed and frenetic finish as the regular season neared its conclusion.
In the second-to-last game of the regular season, the Ducks made the short trip up the 5 freeway to face the rival Kings, with the top seed in the Western Conference on the line. Just one point would clinch it. The Ducks and Kings battled to a 3-3 draw through regulation, giving Anaheim the top spot. But they weren’t done there. Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored in the second period, snapped a shot past Jonathan Quick in the seventh round of the shootout to give Anaheim a 4-3 victory.
8. October 13, 2013
The Return of the Mighty Ducks
The 20th season for the Ducks was one to remember, with incredible comebacks, record-setting performances and the final season of Teemu Selanne. One of the coolest features was the return of the Mighty Ducks jersey for “Throwback Night” against the Ottawa Senators. The night featured a celebration of the original Mighty Ducks team from 1993 and, of course, the signature eggplant and jade last worn in 2005-06.
The performance was a mighty one, as the Ducks set a franchise record for shots on goal with 56 in the 4-1 win. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who spent time in the old threads, scored three of the team’s four goals. Rookie Hampus Lindholm, born during the 1993-94 season, recorded his first points in the National Hockey League with two assists in the win.
“They’re nice. This is what I was drafted in, and this is what I wore in my first year,” Perry said after the win. “It’s nice and exciting to come back to your roots.”
7. April 25, 2014
Getzlaf Returns in Game 5 Victory
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf proved to be the straw that stirs the drink this season, and nowhere was that more evident than Game 5 against Dallas. He missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, a game the Ducks would drop to fall into a series tie with the pesky Dallas Stars. With the series shifting back to Anaheim for a pivotal Game 5, the captain returned. His presence was felt immediately.
Getzlaf helped kick off the scoring, recording the first of his two assists on Nick Bonino’s power-play goal. In the third period, already with two assists, he would blow the roof off Honda Center. Corey Perry crashed into Brenden Dillon on the forecheck, knocking the puck loose behind the goal line. His quick pass found Getzlaf in front, who quickly fired a one-timer from the right circle to the far post for his third goal of the postseason.
His three-point night (1g/2a) helped the Ducks tie a franchise record with six goals and score a franchise-best four power-play goals. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau compared it to getting back a big brother.
6. May 10, 2014
Gibson Blanks Kings in Playoff Debut
Never one to stick to conventional thinking, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau tabbed 20-year-old rookie netminder John Gibson for a critical Game 4 at Staples Center in the second round of the playoffs. Gibson, who had just three regular season starts this season, was tasked with helping the Ducks even the best-of-seven series in front of a hostile road crowd. Anaheim would spot Gibson a two-goal advantage in the first period on goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Getzlaf. After that, it was his time to shine.
The Kings, desperate to claw out of the 2-0 hole, outshot the Ducks, 19-3, over the final two periods. That stretch included a 12-0 advantage in shots during the middle frame. Yet Gibson, known for his stoic demeanor, stood tall, stopping each and every chance. When the final horn sounded, the rookie stopped 28 shots to become the youngest goaltender to record a shutout in his playoff debut.
Gibson (20 years, 330 days) was also the youngest goalie to start a playoff game since Columbus’ Steve Mason (20 years and 329 days) on April 23, 2009 vs. Detroit and the youngest to win a playoff game since Montreal’s Carey Price (20 years and 238 days) on April 24, 2008 vs. Philadelphia.
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