The Road to the Pacific
The Ducks flew out about 90 minutes after their 4-3 win at Columbus. After about 4 1/2 hours in the air, the team arrived at Honda Center at around 1 a.m. The song coincidentally playing on the radio as they pulled in?: "The Boys Are Back In Town".
Thanks to their Pacific Division title, they will indeed be in town for the next five days.
Updated 4:19 p.m. (Pacific time)
By winning the Pacific Division, the Ducks earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and will face the No. 7 Minnesota Wild at home to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game 1 will be held either Wednesday, April 11 or Thursday, April 12 at Honda Center.
The NHL will release the official playoff schedule when all games are complete on Sunday night.
Updated 3:46 p.m. (Pacific time)
VANCOUVER SCORES! The Canucks' overtime goal by Mattias Ohlund beats San Jose, 4-3. THE DUCKS ARE PACIFIC DIVISION CHAMPIONS!
Updated 3:39 p.m. (Pacific time)
As if the Ducks haven't had enough of late third-period goals, San Jose ties it 2-2 on a score by notorious Ducks killer Jonathan Cheechoo. This game is going to ... wait for it ... overtime.
Updated 3:26 p.m. (Pacific time)
As we see on the TV at Nationwide Arena, the Canucks got a goal to take a 3-2 lead in the third period. If they hold on, the Ducks are Pacific Division champs.
Pictures from the Ducks' pregame:
About two dozen fans braved the 30-degree cold and high winds to get Ducks autographs outside their hotel as they boarded the bus for the arena.
Francois Beauchemin signs for fans.
Chris Pronger signs for fans.
An empty Nationwide Arena.
The Ducks warm up.
Updated 1:35 p.m. (Pacific time)
The Ducks are getting ready to hop on the bus and head over to Nationwide Arena.
Meanwhile, Vancouver has taken a quick 2-0 lead over San Jose in the first 10 minutes of their game. To check that game out, go to the NHL scoreboard page by CLICKING HERE.
Updated 11:19 a.m. (Pacific time)
The Ducks did not participate in a morning skate, electing instead to hold a team meal and meeting at around 1 p.m. Columbus time. As nice as the weather may be back home, it is in the low 30s with occasional light snow in Columbus.
The Ducks will head over the Nationwide Arena at 4:45 Columbus time to get ready for the game, while somehow keeping an eye on the San Jose-Vancouver game. To check that game out, go to the NHL scoreboard page by CLICKING HERE.
Corey Perry took a minute to talk after the meeting about the challenges of coming back and playing tonight, as well as the weather.
Perry on coming back and playing after last night
Perry on the focus for tonight's game
Perry on the weather
Updated 9:16 a.m. (Pacific time)
Sound bites from Teemu Selanne and Randy Carlyle after last night's game are available:
Selanne on the tying goal
Selanne on the frustration of losing that game
Selanne on the Ducks' having to "do this the hard way"
Carlyle on the tying goal
Carlyle on the Ducks' position
Updated 8:53 a.m. (Pacific time)
- The Ducks elected not to hold a morning skate that was originally scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Columbus time, opting instead to rest for tonight's game, which starts at 7. As they get ready for that contest, they will keep their eye on San Jose-Vancouver at 4 p.m. Columbus time. If the Sharks lose at home, the Ducks clinch the Pacific Division and earn a No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
Updated 3:20 a.m. (Eastern time)
- The Ducks flew out of Dallas 45 minutes after the end of their crushing 2-1 shootout loss to the Stars. After a two-hour flight and a time change from Central to Eastern time, the Ducks got into Columbus at 3:15 in the morning. They will have a meeting in the morning, rest and head over to Nationwide Arena.
- The Ducks still need one point in tonight's game with Columbus to capture the Pacific Division title. However, should San Jose lose at home to Vancouver earlier in the day (1 p.m. PDT), the Ducks would become Pacific Division champs even before starting the game at Columbus.
- Check this page later today for sound bites and more photos from last night's loss to the Stars.
Updated 3:53 p.m. (PDT) in Dallas
- Just to review, the Ducks need two points (in other words, a win in regulation) to clinch their first Pacific Division title tonight.
- The team arrived at American Airlines Center at around 5:30 Dallas time, and will head out to warm-up skate later.
Updated 2:17 p.m. (PDT)
- Just like at every home and and throughout the playoffs, AnaheimDucks.com will be providing a live game log during tonight's contest, as the Ducks go for their first-ever Pacific Division title. Tune in during the game for live updates. You can go to the game page by clicking here.
- Ducks play-by-play radio voice Steve Carroll recently signed a three-year contract extension, a bit of news that hasn't gotten past the Ducks players. Several, especially Ryan Getzlaf, have told Carroll that he needs to spend the money that comes from his new-found security and buy the whole team lunch. Carroll indicated that the new deal doesn't kick in until September. Getzlaf assured him that they will remember the owed lunch next season.
Updated 12:36 p.m. (PDT)
Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere will miss tonight's and Saturday's game and remain in Southern California this weekend to be with his family. Click here for more.
Updated 10:20 a.m. (PDT)
- The Ducks practiced this morning at American Airlines Center for about 45 minutes. They will then head back to the hotel, have some lunch, get some rest and get ready for the Stars tonight.
- An handful of Ducks fans got into American Airlines Center for the morning skate and the Ducks signed autographs for them on their way off the ice.
- Local media says Marty Turco is expected to get the start tonight in goal for Dallas.
- Andy McDonald has played well against the Stars this season, with three goals and nine points in seven games. Dallas plans to use forward Jeff Halpern on him to try and shut him down.
- The Stars have a surprisingly good record in the second game of back-to-backs (as this is for them tonight), coming in with a 12-3-1 mark.
- Today happens to be Travis Moen's 25th birthday. When I mentioned it to him after practice, he gave me a blank stare for a couple of seconds before realizing it was, indeed, his birthday. It reminded me of the scene in the movie "Old School" when Will Ferrell's character, Frank, realizes his birthday was a couple days ago and he completely forgot about it.
- Read the preview of tonight's game by clicking here.
Updated Friday, April 6 at 12:14 a.m. (Dallas time)
The team that has been tough on the Ducks this season gave them some help Thursday night, taking down Dallas in overtime, 2-1. It was a game Dallas dominated for the most part, but Columbus got a goal late in the third to tie it 1-1. Then Rick Nash found the net just 1:04 into the overtime to give Columbus a surprising win.
Dallas earned a point to get to 103, four behind Anaheim.
Later in the night, San Jose hung on to win at home against Calgary, 4-3. That gives San Jose 106 points, leaving them one behind the Ducks.
The Ducks face a Dallas team Friday night that is flying back from Columbus and will get into Dallas early Friday morning.
The Stars started Mike Smith in goal against the Jackets, meaning Marty Turco will probably get the start Friday night. Smith has been much tougher on the Ducks, beating them 1-0 and 4-1 in February. Turco is 1-4 against the Ducks, including losing their last matchup, a 3-2 overtime affair on March 23 at Honda Center.
More on the Ducks-Stars matchup and the Pacific Division implications later Friday morning...
Thursday, April 5 at 9:30 a.m.
The Ducks finish the season with games Friday at Dallas and Saturday at Columbus, with a chance to clinch their first ever Pacific Division title and ensure home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As they had off for this crucial road swing to finish the regular season, AnaheimDucks.com is with them. Check this website frequently during these two days - and into the playoffs - for updated blogs, photos, live game updates, audio and more.