Good morning, Anaheim Ducks fans! It’s the second day-off of three before the Ducks face the Calgary Flames to close out their ten-game Southern California stand and enter into the All-Star break. The Ducks are currently on a four-game winning streak, and their 66 points in the standings leads the NHL. The team is 7-2-0 in the first nine games of this Southern California stretch and can punctuate the stand with a strong finish against a Flames squad clinging onto the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
The recent stretch of play has to be encouraging for the Ducks. Instead of eking out nail-biters and giving up leads, the Ducks have enjoyed some success in complete games. They posted back-to-back four-goal wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, where the team looked the best it had all season. Against the Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks never led until the shootout period. That was a stark contrast to games in November, when the team would hold two-goal leads, only to see them seemingly disappear within a few minutes of disinterested, lazy play.
The All-Star break will be an opportunity for the team to get some rest. The Ducks have already had some prolonged breaks in the schedule recently, but early in the season, they were among the league’s leaders in games played. The team, except for Ryan Getzlaf (who was named to the All-Star team and will serve as an assistant captain to Jonathan Toews), will get five days off before returning to action. The Ducks’ first three games after the All-Star break are against the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, and Chicago Blackhawks. All three teams currently sit in playoff berths, and the Ducks cannot come out of the gate sloppy. Those three games happen in four nights as well.
There was plenty of action in the NHL yesterday as well. Here are some Ducks and NHL news to get the morning started.
Anaheim Ducks among those trending upward in Western Conference (ESPN)
Columbus has become a first-rate hockey town (NHL)
The young Colorado Avalanche must gain maturity by overcoming adversity (Mile High Sticking)