Over the years, the Anaheim Ducks have appeared in a lot of playoff games. Some of them have been exciting to watch, and other’s have been downright awful.
You knew it was coming. You can run from it but you can’t hide from it. No, I’m not talking about the boogeyman. I’m talking about the 5 worst playoff games in Anaheim Ducks history. For the purpose of this list, I’m using games from 2003 and on. The reason for this is that the 2 times the Ducks played Detroit in 1996–97 and 1998–99 they were outmatched on paper alone.
We all know Detroit had superstar rosters back in the 90’s, so it’s not really a fair comparison. Plus, that was literally the first time most of those rosters went to the playoffs. So, with that being said, sit down, grab some tissues, and come with me on this very painful trip down memory lane.
5. Games 1, 2, and 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals vs the New Jersey Devils
If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve seen me talking about this series recently. I lumped these three together for one reason: The Anaheim Ducks were shutout 0-3 in each game. In the first two games, the Ducks were the slower team and couldn’t solve Martin Brodeur and the Devils took advantage of this. After having a long 10 day rest the Ducks came out flatfooted in the first two games.
Historically, the team that has a long break before the Stanley Cup Finals usually loses. That was the case in this year’s Blues/Bruins matchup. Game 7 was even more disappointing than the first two games. The Ducks had just forced a Game 7 after beating the Devils. Game 6 should’ve been a huge momentum swing. We all know what happened in this game, Scott Stevens‘ takes out Paul Kariya with a huge hit, only for Kariya to come back later a blast a huge slapshot right by Brodeur. That momentum came to a screeching halt when the Ducks were neutralized in Game 7.
4. Game 6 of the 2017 Western Conference Semi-Finals vs the Edmonton Oilers
This one is a real stinker. Coming off an emotional roller coaster from Game 5 the Anaheim Ducks once again had all the momentum in their favor. After coming back from being down 3-0 in the last 3:34, and winning in 2OT, the Ducks should have been able to keep it going.
That was not the case in Game 6. The Oilers would fire off 5 goals in the first period then add another 2 in the 2nd period. The Ducks would only muster up 1 goal in the 2nd. The so-called German Gretzky, Leon Draisaitl, would score a hat trick and 2 assists. Thankfully, the Ducks would come back in Game 7 and finally end the streak.
Consolation: The Oilers have not made the playoffs since and their management had put them in a very bad position cap space-wise.
3. Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Semi-Finals vs the Los Angeles Kings
In the midst of home Game 7 losing streak, we came across the Los Angeles Kings. Looking back, this series was tightly contested. LA took the first two games then Anaheim would take the next three games which forced LA to come back and force a Game 7. Up until this point, every game except Games 2 and 4 were one-goal games. So, one would think Game 7 would end in a similar fashion.
Not this time. LA came out like a house on fire and put up 5 goals in the first 45 minutes of the game before Anaheim would score their first. By the end of the 2nd, it was 5-1 and in the 3rd Anaheim just went through the motions. Each team would put up one more goal making the final 6-2. This would end Teemu Selanne‘s career on a sour note as this was his final push for a 2nd Stanley Cup.
Consolation: After winning the Cup, the Kings have fallen off big time having missed the playoffs numerous times and was swept by the new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights.
2. Game 6 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals vs the Nashville Predators
This one makes my heart drop in my chest. Before puck drop, this game had potential disaster written all over it. We had to start Jonathan Bernier due to John Gibson being injured in the previous game. Ryan Getzlaf lost both his linemates, Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell to lower-body injuries.
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Getzlaf then had to work with Nick Ritchie, who would later get himself ejected in the 1st period of the game. Then Getzlaf had to continue working with different linemates all game. On top of that, our second line wasn’t producing effectively.
So, as you can see, there was a whole cavalcade of problems going into and even at the beginning of the game. Colton Sissons scored a hat trick and Preds won 6-3 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Consolation: The Preds would lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games and have not advanced beyond the 2nd round since and have begun to show signs of regression.
1. Game 3 of the 2018 Western Conference Quarter-Finals vs the San Jose Sharks
Here it is, the worst playoff game in Mighty Ducks/Anaheim Ducks history, although you could argue that this was the worst game in franchise history. Game 3 in San Jose. The best part of the game was that Anaheim had it tied before the end of the 1st period. Nobody expected what happened next.
The Sharks would rail off 4 goals in the 2nd and then another 3 in the 3rd. If you hate penalties then I don’t recommend you to look at the penalty totals for this game. It was very ugly on both sides. The saving grace of this game is that it was not a home game and that’s the best thing to take away from this game.
Consolation: Just like the Kings they were also beaten by the Vegas Golden Knights. The Sharks also have their best roster possible and still haven’t made the Finals since 2016.
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