The first win of the Bruce Boudreau win will have to wait, as the Ducks endured two games over the weekend -- the first two of his watch -- that unfortunately had all too much in common.
In both, the Ducks looked strong-to-quite-strong in jumping out to early leads, only to see those leads vanish. Friday night vs. Philadelphia, there was an inspired vibe throughout Honda Center as the Ducks jumped out to a 3-0, only to watch the Flyers chip away at it and tie it late in the third. Philly ultimately crushed the Ducks with a game-winner in overtime from Claude Giroux, which came after a Ryan Getzlaf
tripping call had a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct minor added to it.
Last night was much of the same, as the Ducks went in front 2-0, only to have the Wild score on a power play goal late in the first, then score two in a span of 32 seconds to go ahead.
“It looked like when they got the second goal, ‘Oh, they tied us. We’re not going to be successful,’ ” said Boudreau last night. “Now, when they got the third goal, it’s, ‘Oh, woe is us.’ So, you know, we've got to get that mindset out of them right away and be able to say, ‘Dammit, let’s go get it back.’ ”
Boudreau called timeout after the two quick goals, and was asked later what he told his new team. “I said, ‘Don’t hang your head. You look like you’re a beaten crew.’ If you can’t face a little adversity in sport or in hockey, you’re not going to get anywhere. I mean, pull up your socks and get mad rather than feeling sorry for yourselves.”
To Anaheim's credit, they did just that, tying it up when a Cam Fowler
shot banked in off defenseman Marco Scandella's boot in the middle of the third. But the Ducks were bitten by another goal off a skate, this time Wild forward Nick Johnson's with 5 1/2 minutes left. Anaheim had a chance to tie it late when a power play and a pulled Jonas Hiller
created a 6-on-4, but Cal Clutterbuck's empty-netter with 10 seconds left provided the stomach punch.
It's a cliche, and it's one the Ducks have used to describe themselves previously this season, but Boudreau once again stressed it last night. "We have to play 60 minutes," he said. "We played about, I'd say, 12 good minutes in the first period and the shots were about 7-2. And the next thing it was 17-9 for them."
And it led to another frustrating Ducks loss, one that leaves them with a 7-14-5 record and 14th in the Western Conference. With 56 games to go in the regular season, and 10 points behind the eighth spot in the West, the Ducks unquestionably have a considerable hill to climb. But as Boudreau said last night, "It's been done before."
Indeed it has ... by Bruce Boudreau. In 2007 he took over a Washington Capitals team that was 6-14-1 and 30th in the NHL. They went 37-17-7 the rest of the way and won the Southeast Division.
(If this is all making you think of Jim Mora's famous "Playoffs???" rant
, it's interesting timing. Today is the 10-year anniversary of that classic sound byte.)
“I’ve already gone through the schedule,” Boudreau said. “I’ll show them how we can do it, if you put the basis on 97 points needed for the playoffs. I told them, ‘You just have to believe it.’ ”
Making them believe will be no small task, especially considering the lulls the Ducks have suffered in recent games that have ultimately cost them dearly. Today they were back at work at Honda Center, getting ready for a huge game with the rival Kings here tomorrow night. Boudreau, despite being new to the Ducks, seems to be well aware at how intense that rivalry is, partly from his time as coach of the Kings' AHL affiliate in Manchester from 2001 through 2005.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of hatred on both sides,” he said. ”When I was part of the Kings organization, they certainly didn’t like the Ducks. So now that I’m here, I certainly don’t like the Kings.”
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One positive of the weekend: The likeable Andrew Gordon
got his first goal as a Duck on Friday night against the Flyers. Gordon's rebound punch-in
that made it 3-0 at 6:31 of the second period was reviewed to see if it was kicked in, an agonizing few minutes considering cameras cut between the review and Gordon's elated face on the bench.
Thankfully, the goal counted, and Gordon's unbridled joy on the bench was apparent. Also, for those of you who care about such things, the reaction on Twitter to Gordon's goal led for him to trend worldwide
, outranking "Happy Birthday Britney" and "Prom Night Dumpster Baby."
Interestingly enough, Gordon's first NHL goal came last December as a member of the Capitals ... under coach Bruce Boudreau. And it was on Martin Brodeur, no less.
Check out the awesome reaction to that goal by Gordon at the end of this video: