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Stunning run has Ducks standing pat at deadline

Monday, 02.27.2012 / 6:14 PM / 2012 Trade Deadline

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

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Stunning run has Ducks standing pat at deadline
The impressive turnaround by the Anaheim Ducks made GM Bob Murray's phone rather quiet on a day most had pegged as one of major activity for the Ducks
It sounds odd for the general manager of a team five places removed from a Stanley cup Playoff berth to be perfectly content with his roster, but Bob Murray was sitting pretty on the NHL's Trade Deadline day.

The impressive turnaround by Anaheim made Murray's phone rather quiet on a day most had pegged as one of major activity for the Ducks.

Murray said he largely made up his mind weeks ago not to make major changes. Specifically, the Ducks players made up his mind with an NHL-best 17-4-4 record since Jan. 1 going into Monday's game at Colorado.

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"A long time ago you thought we'd be sellers here," Murray said. "Players responded to the challenge. As weeks went on… talks weren't talks anymore. We kind of pulled ourselves right back from everything. The players deserved this opportunity and they're getting this opportunity.

"It made it real simple here the past couple of weeks. Good for them."

Veterans Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman and Lubomir Visnovsky were still thought to be movable pieces; but Murray, typically busy on deadline day, only made two minor moves Monday.

Some of that had to do with the market prices.

"I hoped (prices) might go down today, but they didn't come down," Murray said. "I don't think a lot happened. We're all so bunched up. I think a lot of teams said, 'Oh boy.' We dabbled in a couple of things, but the price was just too much."

Murray long ago declared that Teemu Selanne would not be dealt and addressed the rumors that Anaheim would do the unthinkable and send the franchise icon to a contender.

"He was going to have to come to me and make me do something," Murray said. "It was never going to come to that."

Murray usually doesn't do much media, but when he does he makes a splash, and he lit a fire under the Ducks months ago when he said that everybody but Selanne and Saku Koivu were on the table.

A shootout loss to Los Angeles on Dec.22 dropped Anaheim to 9-19-6. It then beat San Jose, and new coach Bruce Boudreau thought that's where the seed was planted -- even though the Ducks lost the ensuing three games.

"When we beat San Jose (on Dec.26) they thought, 'You know, we're OK,'" Boudreau said. "Even though they came back and beat us at home, we thought they played as hard as they could. We thought we could compete with them, and if we can do that, then we could compete with most teams."

A major reason for Anaheim's re-awakening is goalie Jonas Hiller, who entered Monday with a 15-3-4 record, 1.76 goals-against average and .931 save percentage during his past 23 games.

"That's huge," Bobby Ryan said. "I think if you got a goalie that's hot back there you can play a little looser. But I think our D is taking on an incredible challenge of blocking shots and not letting those second and third opportunities.

"A lot of times when things are going bad, Jonas is making that first save, as he always does, but we were giving guys two and three whacks at it and letting him down in that regard. I think everybody's taking it as a mission on this team to block guys out and make sure we're not giving up on Jonas."

Boudreau has also opened up a Ducks' offense and the dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry finally came alive. Hart Trophy winner Perry has eight goals and two assists in his past 10 games and is on pace to duplicate his 50-goal output from last season. Getzlaf has nine assists in his past 12 games.

Teemu Selanne
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 21 | ASST: 34 | PTS: 55
SOG: 166 | +/-: 9
Perhaps the biggest thing Boudreau has done is renew Anaheim's confidence.

"Bruce came in, we started really believing and even though we had a little bad (stretch) we started playing well," Andrew Cogliano said Sunday night.

"I think now we're full believers. We have 20 games left. The more games we win, the better position we'll be in. We've shown how good we've been playing. Trade talks are going to happen, but it's tough to break up a team that keeps winning."

Getzlaf, whose non-production as captain placed him under scrutiny, said the players genuinely thought they would turn a corner.

"We did within our group," Getzlaf said. "It was a far goal for us, but we set some short-term goals and we reached a lot of them, and that's what we have to continue doing because we haven't accomplished yet. We're just in the hunt. That's the only thing we've done."

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for Anaheim, which is just six points behind eighth-place Dallas, is its schedule. After Monday it only plays six games against the five teams directly ahead of them in the West.

It also gets difficult with two games against St. Louis, plus dates against Nashville and Boston.

"Obviously we start playing against teams that are going to the playoffs," Boudreau said. "We've had, I wouldn't say easy, but I mean, we haven't had those four point games when you do playing against the Eastern teams or if you play against Detroit. It starts to get interesting now."

Quote of the Day

You could see out there that everybody was willing to compete, to sacrifice, even blocking shots to the end. Even in the third when we were up 5-0, guys were still working hard and blocking shots That's a nice feeling also for the future.

— Flames goalie Jonas Hiller after his team's 5-0 win over Carolina
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