4th seed vs 5th seed
The 2016-17 Anaheim Ducks were coming off their fourth straight year losing game 7 on home ice in the playoffs. The team had it’s core returning, led by captain Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, the latter who had arguably his best season in a Ducks uniform. Kesler joined Cam Fowler at the All-Star game this year, and also saw Rickard Rakell break out and score 33 goals.
While players like Kesler and Rakell were producing, 2017 was the beginning of Corey Perry’s declined as his 19 goals were his lowest total since his second year in the league (excluding the lockout-shortened 2013 season). With Perry’s drop in production, Bob Murray decided to send a First Round pick to the Dallas Stars in exchange for winger Patrick Eaves who was also having a career season.
After sweeping Calgary, winning a truly exciting seven-game series against Edmonton, injuries caught up to the Ducks. Losing players such as Patrick Eaves, John Gibson, and Rickard Rakell, the team eventually lost to the Nashville Predators in six games during the Conference Finals.
Probably one of the least talked about seasons in franchise history is the 2005-06 season. After the lockout, the Mighty Ducks reloaded and had a memorable season to set up things to come. After the lockout, Henry and Susan Samueli took over team ownership and a new direction was taking place. Brian Burke was brought in as General Manager, along with new Head Coach Randy Carlyle, who became the architects of this new era in team history.
Burke made a huge splash in free agency, bringing in Scott Niedermayer to lead the team. He brought back a healthy and energized Teemu Selanne, who took the lockout year to recover from knee surgery. The team was also bolstered by the debuts of rookies Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Dustin Penner.
After a slow start, Burke continued to revamp the team, by trading disgruntled veterans Petr Sykora, Sandis Ozolinsh, and Sergei Federov, to make room for impact players including Todd Marchant, Francois Beauchemin, and Sean O’Donnell. These moves pushed the Mighty Ducks to the playoffs as the 6th seed.
In the playoffs, the Mighty Ducks played the 3rd seed Calgary Flames, taking the series to the distance and winning in seven games. The series is most remembered for Francois Beauchemin’s fight against Flames captain (and recent Hall of Famer) Jarome Iginla. The series also showed a change in net for the Mighty Ducks as Ilya Bryzgalov replaced J.S. Giguere, who would go on to help the team sweep the Colorado Avalanche. The Mighty Ducks’ run unfortunately ended by the hands of the 8th seeded Edmonton Oilers, who defeat the Mighty Ducks in five games to move on to the Stanley Cup Final.
Game 1: The 2017 Ducks made a late-season push, winning their most recent Pacific Division title with a 56.1% winning percentage on the season. 2006 came close with a 52.4% winning percentage which was good that year for 3rd in the Pacific.
Game 1 goes to 2017
Game 2: The playoff matchup between these two teams is oddly similar; both had a sweep, a seven-game win, and played against both Alberta teams. The difference is one more game that the 2017 Ducks played against Nashville in six-game loss (58.8% win percentage) vs the five-game to Edmonton in 2006 (56.3% win percentage).
Game 2 goes to 2017
Game 3: The 2017 Ducks were very middle of the pack for scoring, as their 2.72 Goals per-game sat 17th out of the 30 teams. Rickard Rakell led the team with 33 goals, with only Ryan Kesler (22) and Jakob Silfverberg (23) scoring more than 20. Patrick Eaves also added 11 goals in 20 games as an acquisition at the trade deadline.
The post-lockout 2005-06 season saw a burst of scoring, and the Mighty Ducks were no exception. Sitting at 15th in the league, the team managed to post a 3.10 Goals per-game during the season, led by Teemu Selanne (40), Andy McDonald (34), and Joffery Lupul (28).
Game 3 goes to 2006
Game 4: While the 2017 team struggled to score in comparison to recent years, the Anaheim Ducks were still one of the best defensive teams in the league. This season was the first as John Gibson being the true number one, after trading Frederik Andersen. Backed by Gibson and steady defensive play, the team finished third in the league with a 2.44 Goals against average.
With the increase in scoring in the 2006 season, the Mighty Ducks still finished in the top 10 for Goals against this season. However, they still surrendered 2.79 goals a game in the year.
Game 4 goes to 2017
Game 5: The Ducks had a down year in 2017 in terms of scoring, comparatively speaking to some of their other recent years. The team’s leader in points that year was captain Ryan Getzlaf, who continued to show his consistency by putting up 73 points. In his return to Anaheim, Teemu Selanne showed that he was back and healthy in 2006, pacing the Mighty Ducks with 90 points in the first year after the lockout.
Game 5 goes to 2006
Game 6: This year, players who retired in 2017 became eligible for the enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame. With that being said, none of the players on the 2017 Ducks teams are current members of the ‘Hall’. In time, Ryan Getzlaf should certainly get in, with guys like Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler given consideration. There is also the future of a player like John Gibson who may play his way in someday, however for the case of the here and now, this gives the 2017 Ducks a zero.
In 2006, the Mighty Ducks were led by Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne who we all know are now in the ‘Hall’. This team finishes with a score of 3. Shoutout to Sergei Federov who started the season on this team before being shipped to Columbus.
Game 6 goes to 2006
Game 7: Instead of using a stat for the deciding factor to a series, the staff at Pucks of a Feather decided to have a discussion of the best moments per season. From there we took the best moment of a particular season and compared them to the other top moments.
When thinking back to 2017, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the exciting series against the Edmonton Oilers where the Ducks finally shed the burden of Game 7 losses. From coming back from 2-0 in the series, back-to-back OT wins including the famous “Comeback on Katella” and Nick Ritchie’s series-winning goal in Game 7. The series against the Oilers is the favorite moment of the 2017 season.
For 2006 on the other hand, took a little bit more thought. There was a lot to use from the playoffs; the exciting seven-game series against the Flames including Francois Beauchemin’s fight or the Colorado Avalanche series where they swept the Avs, led by the heroics of Ilya Bryzgalov and Joffery Lupul. The winner for the best moment of the season, however, had to go to Teemu Selanne’s 1000th point during the regular season.
In his return to Anaheim, Selanne was having a magnificent run, showing that he could still produce like the Teemu of old. On January 30th, 2006, Selanne reached the 1000th point mark, fittingly enough against the Ducks’ crosstown rival LA Kings. Teemu received a beautiful pass from Andy McDonald who sprung him on a breakaway and did the signature forehand to backhand up over Mathieu Garon. In front of the Arrowhead Pond crowd, the Mighty Ducks cleared the bench to all celebrate with Selanne on the ice. This decision was tough, but with the excitement and drama that happened in the Edmonton series, the staff has decided that the 2017 team would edge out a victory in a very close decision.
Game 7 goes to 2017