Ducks Game Day: It’s Time to Take that Playoff Spot

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Rickard Rakell
ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Rickard Rakell /

Last night everyone in close contention with the Anaheim Ducks for a Western Conference playoff spot who played got points…except for the Los Angeles Kings. That leaves the door open for the Ducks to start to solidify their playoff position tonight at Edmonton (6:30 PT on Fox Sports Prime & Fox Sports San Diego).

How Did That Happen?

The Anaheim Ducks were thoroughly out-shot, out-skated, and generally outplayed Friday night in Winnipeg. It would have been a total loss except for the otherworldly goaltending of John Gibson. As a result, they got a crucial point and moved back into playoff position with nine games left. Anaheim will need a better effort to beat the Oilers, who did the Ducks a favor last night by beating the Kings.

Vs. Edmonton This Year

All three games against the Oilers have been close this season. Edmonton has squeaked out two shootout wins, and the Ducks beat them by one goal in regulation. The last time the two teams met, the Ducks lost 6-5 in a shootout thriller.

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Maybe you recall that game. It was déjà vu all over again for the Oilers as Rickard Rakell scored two goals in the final 21 seconds to send the game to overtime and secure Rakell’s first career hat trick. Remember that point if the Ducks squeak into the playoffs this season, or more importantly if that point keeps them in the Pacific Division bracket.

Edmonton in a Nutshell

We can talk all we want about Leon Draisaitl. But this team begins and ends with Connor McDavid. He leads the Oilers’ #2 point scorer (Draisaitl) by 28 points. That means the Oilers have scored less than 57% of their goals without McDavid getting a point on the play.

Hate him if you will, but he’s an amazing player to watch. If you love hockey, you have to feel just a little sorry for him. Then again, this team employs Milan Lucic. Watch for him to do something utterly stupid tonight. He always does.

Darnell Nurse is also worth watching. He endured his share of criticism in Edmonton. But he leads the defense in points this season with 25. I’m not a big fan of the +/- statistic. You have to wonder though, how Nurse has the second highest +/- on the team behind McDavid with a +17.

He’s a solid defenseman who is averaging over 22 minutes a night. Nurse controlled the game when he played in the AHL until a couple of seasons ago. And he’s still only 23 years old.

Ducks Lineup

Hopefully, Ryan Getzlaf overcomes his “flu-like symptoms.” How many times a year can you get that? Anyway, the Ducks need him. Antoine Vermette for Getzlaf isn’t a good trade.

Kevin Bieksa isn’t coming back anytime soon having had hand surgery. Who knows when Josh Manson will return after his mystery injury?

Will Gibson be able to move after that performance Friday night? Who knows? Maybe Miller gets a game in tonight. Here is the projected lineup.


Rakell – Getzlaf – Perry

Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg

Ritchie – Henrique – Kase

Kelly – Grant – Chimera/Brown


Fowler – Montour

Lindholm – Pettersson

Beauchemin – Holzer




Is It Time to Secure Playoff Tickets?

That depends. Are you a gambler?

The Ducks started the night Saturday in a playoff spot. They moved out of playoff position when St. Louis and Colorado won their games. As a result of the Kings loss, they moved back into a playoff spot. That’s quite a roller-coaster ride for a night off.

Next: Sunday Op-Ed - The Value of Getzlaf's Leadership

At this point, the Ducks have a 73.9% chance of making the playoffs according to If the Ducks can win the games they should win, they will make the playoffs this season. That means they need to take care of business tonight in Edmonton.