As the regular season comes to a close, Anaheim Ducks fans are getting anxious.
An all too familiar sense of déjà vu is setting in as flashbacks from last year’s disappointing season ending start to come forth. A team we know and love as an elite team in the league is putting together an effort that is par, at best.
Wednesday night’s victory over the San Jose Sharks was a fantastic game for Anaheim, but remains an anomaly in an otherwise lackluster couple of weeks.
Don’t panic, Ducks fans.
While things are starting to look eerily similar to last year’s disappointing conclusion, there are reasons to believe this year’s Ducks won’t fall into the same pratfalls as last years team.
Corey Perry. Last year, Perry ended the regular season with a mediocre fifteen goals in forty-eight games. This year, Perry has come up huge for us, especially here in the latter part of the season. His 43 goals are second only to Alex Ovechkin and has four goals in the last five games have come at times in the game where he needed to step up and score big.
This year’s Perry has found his scoring touch again and looks to be carrying that momentum into the playoffs.
Depth scoring has also been phenomenal. Fans saw that Wednesday night with Patrick Maroon getting two goals and securing the Ducks’ victory. With four solid centers and a rotation of dangerous forwards, opponents will have plenty to contend with whoever ends up on the ice for the Ducks.
Our opponents will be either the Minnesota Wild or the Dallas Stars (maybe Phoenix as well). It’ll be easy for fans to draw comparisons between these teams and last year’s Red Wings, especially Minnesota who, like the Red Wings last year, are heating up in the later part of the year and into the playoffs.
This might warrant a bit of panic. Both are fast teams with a lot of skill in their top two lines. The Ducks tend to have trouble with that combination.
That is a big part of why the Red Wings were so successful against us last year. Speed and Skill. Anaheim had some shutdown defenders who could neutralize any threat the Red Wings forwards had, if we could catch their forwards. That is something that’s changed this year when compared to last year. A more mobile defense for the Ducks.
With Lindholm having a breakout season and the Fowler and Lovejoy pairing paying huge dividends this season, the Ducks’ back-end is a bit more prepared for speedy teams then last year’s was.
Looking back at the series last year, the Ducks were in it to the bitter end. The clubs exchanged victories and, eventually, the Red Wings came out on top. Despite the meandering ending the Ducks had at the end of the season, they picked up the pace once the playoffs started, and even came through with the victory in the first game. Playoff hockey can do that. It can make a more lackluster team really pick up their game and play to the best of their ability.
So, no matter how this season ends for the Ducks, once the playoffs begin, they’ll be playing at their best going into the playoffs. When the Ducks play at their best, they’re all but unstoppable.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, is one simple truth: The Stanley Cup Playoffs is chaos.
Last year the number one team in the league won it all. The year before that, the eighth seeded L.A. Kings won. Us bloggers, analysts, fans can all speculate and try to predict what might happen. We’d probably be right the majority of the time, too, but the fact remains that once the playoffs start, any possibility has a chance.
Could the Ducks win it all this year? Absolutely.
Could the Ducks be swept out of the playoffs in the first round? Absolutely.
The odds are in the Ducks’ favor, but there’s no telling just what will happen once the playoffs start.
So, don’t panic. Sit back and enjoy watching one of the most exciting, energetic, and entertaining teams this city has seen in years. I guarantee, no matter what happens, it’ll be one heck of a playoffs for the Anaheim Ducks.
Follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter.
Like Pucks of a Feather on Facebook.