Expert Panel: Will the Ducks Claim a Pacific Division Playoff Spot?

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Adam Henrique
ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Adam Henrique /
ANAHEIM, CA – MARCH 06: Hampus Lindholm
ANAHEIM, CA – MARCH 06: Hampus Lindholm /

There are only 15 games left in the season to earn a playoff birth. This week we asked our experts: Will the Ducks Claim a Pacific Division Playoff Spot?

Derek Grochowski – Contributor, FanSided NHL

The Pacific division aside from Vegas is a shootout right now. The Anaheim Ducks are right in the middle of it only being one point out of second and one point dropping them to a wild-card spot. The Ducks won’t make it in the Pacific division but will claim a wild card spot this year. The San Jose Sharks offense has gotten a huge boost from Evander Kane who has five points in three games and the Los Angeles Kings are picking up the pace with the return of Jeff Carter.

The Ducks will fall out of their Pacific division spot and into a wild-card position and be a nightmare opponent for someone in the first round. It is not an easy schedule down the stretch for the Ducks. Seven of their last fifteen games are against current playoff teams and another two are against teams just on the outside. This will be a good test for the Ducks but it is hard to predict how successful they will be based on inconsistency issues all year. If John Gibson, winner of his last five, can keep his high level of play going he will be able to carry Anaheim to a playoff spot.

Ed Stein – Expert, Pucks of a Feather

Absolutely, they earn a spot. Last week, I probably would have agreed with Derek. Then the Ducks played their most recent homestand. Anaheim took seven of eight points and jumped into second place in the Pacific. Championship teams always go on a big run during the season (think Dodgers last year). I believe the Ducks are making that run right now. I dug a little deeper and since Ryan Kesler’s return on December 27, Anaheim is 18-8-4 (41 points). They have one less point than division leading Vegas in two fewer games during that span.

The other reason for my Confidence has to do with the aforementioned Vegas Golden Knights. They have arguably played the most incredible expansion year in NHL history and stormed to the top of the division from the first puck drop. However, Vegas is 1-3-1 in their last five games. I think they are running out of gas. Their uptempo, out-speed their opponent style is catching up with them. The Ducks have closed the gap to 4 ½ games and actually have a chance to reel VGK in for a sixth straight Pacific title. Maybe it’s a slim chance, but the door is cracked open.

What I like most is that Ducks aren’t satisfied with just making the playoffs:

Once a team makes the playoffs, anything can happen: