You remember days when the deadline activity was relatively tame for Anaheim (for example, Brad May in 2007) and relatively frenzied (trades involving Sammy Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Kent Huskins and others in 2009).
You've got your eyes and ears honed in on TSN, to see the action around the NHL. Your attention perks up, and you sit up a little more in your seat, when you hear the words "Anaheim Ducks" mentioned by the commentators.
For those Ducks, their approach to this day has seemingly changed dramatically from what we may have thought it would be back at the turn of the new year. A Ducks team that was once miles out of a playoff spot (20 points as of January 6) is now six points back thanks to an incredible run that has been the best in the league. Anaheim 17-4-4 (38 points) since January 1, just a little better than Detroit (17-6-2) and St. Louis (17-5-2) with 36 each.
The last notch on that scorching stretch came last night at Honda Center against the Blackhawks, where the Ducks just continued the outstanding play that saw them go 5-1-2 on this recent road trip. Aside from an early Patrick Kane goal, the Ducks mostly dominated Chicago last night, cruising to a 3-1 victory in which they outshot the Hawks 38-19 (giving up just four in the third when the Hawks were trying to tie it). And they did it in front of a record regular season crowd of 17,601 (standing room only included).
The Ducks got scoring from a guy with 658 career goals and a guy with just three. They got goals with immediate satisfaction and one they had to wait several minutes to celebrate. The latter came late in the first, when Andrew Cogliano
kicked the puck under Hawks goalie Ray Emery and (though it was tough to tell) slapped it behind him with his stick. A six-minute replay review seemed to determine that Cogliano did make contact with the stick and the goal was allowed. Here's a look:
The Ducks took the lead (ultimately for good) with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second, when a Teemu Selanne
pass from behind the net squirted out to Sheldon Brookbank
, whose shot deflected off Duncan Keith and got through Emery
. After going 167 games without a goal, that one was Brookbank’s second in the last five (he had one on the trip against his former team, the Devils).
That assist and Selanne's insurance power play goal from his office in the lower left wing circle
pushed him past a guy named Luc Robitaille for 20th on the NHL's all-time scoring list.
The Ducks badly needed that win (heck, they need them all) to stay within six of the eighth spot after Dallas scored with less than a minute to go in regulation and won in overtime against Vancouver earlier in the day. After the game last night, the Ducks hustled out the door for the airport, where they headed to Colorado for another big one tonight. For the first time in awhile, the Ducks can not only win, but hold back another team in that crowded bunch of teams fighting for that eighth spot, as the Avs are two back of Dallas and four ahead of Anaheim in the standings.
But right now we're looking less at that 6:00 puck drop than the noon deadline for trades, waiting to see what moves the Ducks might make this morning. We'll keep you posted.
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Meanwhile, here's a great quote from Bruce Boudreau in this Q&A in this morning's L.A. Times
"This is about our hopes and dreams. I've been doing this my whole life and I've learned if your dreams aren't high enough and if you don't think of winning the Cup, you're not giving yourself a chance. If you don't shoot for the moon, you sell yourself short. I haven't won the Cup yet, but it's something I dream of every day.