|One of the few happy photos from a tough night in Denver.
The demands of their recent schedule appeared to finally catch up with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks got little time to catch their breaths after finally completing a 15-day road trip that spanned more than 7,000 miles, having to turn around and play three games in four nights. It didn't seem to take its toll during an emphatic victory Sunday night at home vs. Chicago, but last night in Denver the Ducks appeared to run out of fuel.
Typically when a team plays the second of a back-to-back, you don't see its effects in the first period, but it's the latter half of the second and the third when you can see them wearing down. That's what happened to Chicago (played LA the night before) on Sunday, and it's pretty much what happened with the Ducks last night. Despite giving up the game's first goal, they fought back to tie it on a beautiful snipe on the power play
by Bobby Ryan
in the second.
But that appeared to be all the Ducks had to give, as a couple of giveaways led to two Avalanche strikes in the first three minutes of the third period, and Anaheim wasn't able to recover.
"I told them, I said I usually don't make excuses for them ever and probably won't again," Bruce Boudreau said. "It looked like we had nothing. For all intents and purposes, it's been a three-week road trip."
Although they allowed Colorado to climb into ninth (same point total as Dallas in eighth), the good news for the Ducks is that they didn't lose any ground on that last playoff spot. The Kings (four points ahead of Anaheim in 10th) lost 2-1 in Nashville, and Calgary (three ahead in 11th) fell 3-1 at home to St. Louis.
Anaheim -- which took today off from practice -- remains six points back with 19 to go, and faces a critical bounceback game here at home Wednesday night vs. Buffalo. Aside from Boston on March 25, that's the last Eastern Conference foe Anaheim faces this year. Of their last 19 games, six will come against teams with whom they're battling for those playoff spots.
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It's going to be a busy week with the Buffalo game Wednesday, Calgary at home on Friday and a huge game in LA on Saturday. Ducks fans will have to wait until then for that always-lively game at Staples Center, but they can battle with Kings fans a little earlier in the week at Thursday's second annual Rivalry Hold 'Em Poker Challenge at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
For just a $35 buy-in, you can play poker alongside other Ducks and Kings fans, as well as these Ducks alumni and broadcasters: Guy Hebert, Jason Marshall, Sean Pronger, John Alhers, Jenny Cavnar, Kent French and Brian Hayward.
And yes, I will be playing as well, hoping to top the 20 minutes I lasted in last year's tournament. I'm also prepping myself for the looks of disappointment on the faces of the people at my table when they find out I'm
the "Ducks alumni/broadcaster."
The tournament starts at 7 p.m. and players will compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes (all proceeds going to benefit the Anaheim Ducks Foundation and Kings Care Foundation). There is also an after-party that runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The deadline to sign up is tonight at 11 p.m. and there is still space available.
Click here for more information and to register