By Adam Brady
While Andrew Cogliano
is one of those players whose worth to his team is not defined by stats, there is one number that exemplifies the kind of player he is: 622.
That is the number of consecutive games Cogliano has played, while never missing a game in his eight-year NHL career. He became the league’s reigning Ironman after St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester's streak ended when he missed a November 23 game with an injury.
Cogliano’s streak is made even more remarkable by the manner in which he plays each and every night – never taking a shift off, sacrificing the body, going hard into the corners, blocking shots, killing penalties and essentially doing everything it takes to win. He was a major reason the Ducks posted the top record in the Western Conference (51-24-7) and came within a game of the Stanley Cup Final.
“I really felt deep down that we were going to win, and I think everybody else did as well,” Cogliano said in the days following Anaheim’s elimination in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at the hands of the Blackhawks. “I felt like we were so close, but you feel so far because you lose. It’s tough because we have a lot of good pieces on this team, and we’re a good team. A lot of teams don’t make it as far as we did, and play as well as we did, but it’s always an empty feeling when you lose, especially in a Game 7.”
Cogliano had three goals and six assists in 16 playoff games, which followed a regular season in which his scoring was slightly down compared to 2013-14. This season, his fourth in Anaheim, Cogliano had 15 goals and 14 assists after posting a career-high 21 two seasons ago.
He continued to be invaluable in the defensive end for Anaheim, notably on the penalty kill, where he helped the Ducks rank fourth in the NHL in postseason penalty kill percentage and scored three shorthanded goals during the regular season, tied for fifth in the league. His plus-9 rating during the postseason was third in the NHL, and he dealt out so many hits, even the linesmen weren’t safe on occasion.
Nobody took it harder when the Ducks were downed by Chicago in that Game 7 at Honda Center, and it made Cogliano eager for redemption next season, when he will no doubt once again prove invaluable to Anaheim.
“There has been so much talk about the Game 7s, and we just need to learn from what’s been happening because we’re obviously going to get in this situation again,” he said. “That’s the only way this team is going to get to that next step, if guys want to come back and be better and realize that we ultimately weren’t good enough to win. I think that’s where we are now. We’re hungry for that success, and I think we’re building towards that.”
Cogliano’s goal in the second period of Game 4 of the Second Round vs. Calgary exemplified his skills at both ends of the ice. With the Ducks trailing the Flames 2-1 late in the period, Cogliano deftly stripped the puck from Flames wunderkind Johnny Gaudreau, then got it back from teammate Kyle Palmieri before flipping it inside the left post.
That tied it 2-2 at a crucial point in a game the Ducks would go on to win 4-2, and Anaheim closed out the series a game later.