EDMONTON -- After completing a monumental comeback for the ages two nights ago, the Ducks - perhaps one of the most resilient teams in recent memory - have a chance to deliver a knockout punch tonight in Game 6 of the Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place (4 p.m. PT, NBCSN/1090 AM).
And to think, Anaheim was 15 seconds away from being pushed to the brink of elimination.
Instead, a remarkable comeback - the first of its kind in Stanley Cup Playoff history when trailing by three goals with less than four minutes left in regulation - has the Ducks in the driver's seat and a chance to advance to the Western Conference Final. They hold a 3-2 series lead, becoming the first team in this best-of-seven matchup to win on home ice. They've come back from an 0-2 series deficit with three consecutive victories, including Games 3 and 4 in Edmonton in front of one of the most hostile crowds you'll ever encounter. They got the job done in Calgary during the First Round without giving the Flames a second chance. Can they do it again in the Second Round?
"This is an opportunity for us to take that next step and really make a statement," Andrew Cogliano said to reporters yesterday. "Force them to push. Capitalize on our opportunities. It's not going to be easy. They're going to be really upset and push back after a loss like that. It's going to take our best effort."
They will once again look to their captain to lead the way tonight, and with good reason. Ryan Getzlaf is having himself a dominant postseason, especially in this series, and enters tonight's game co-leading the league in goals (8) and ranking second overall in points (15). Six of his nine games in the postseason have been multi-point efforts. He has 10 points (5g/5a) in this series alone.
Head coach Randy Carlyle knows this will be Edmonton's best performance of the series. It's up to his club to rise up and deliver a consistent game from start to finish - however long it may take.
"We have to play better than we did in [Game 5]," he said. "It's not like we played poorly, but we had a poor period. That seems to be our nemesis right now. The last couple games we've had 20 minutes that we aren't really proud of."