Only 25 games are left in the regular season for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim following the Olympic Break.
And the road to obtaining a playoff spot starts on Wednesday night, March 1st at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim for the Ducks. A game with Detroit begins a stretch of four consecutive games at home for the Ducks. On Friday, March 3rd, the Ducks play host to the Minnesota Wild. The Columbus Blue Jackets come to town on Sunday afternoon, March 5th, followed by the San Jose Sharks visit to the Pond on Tuesday night, March 7th.
Anaheim has 12 of their remaining 25 regular season contests at home while 13 are to be played on the road.
There will be 16 games played in the month of March and 9 in April before the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs get underway. It’s the Ducks versus the Western Conference the rest of the way, so every game is a crucial contest in the race for a playoff spot.
Anaheim has 11 games left with teams in the Pacific Division. The Ducks play Dallas four times, three games with Phoenix and two with both Los Angeles and San Jose.
As far as central Division opposition is concerned, the Ducks tangle with the Detroit Red Wings on two occasions, and take on the improved Columbus Blue Jackets two times before the playoffs get underway. Anaheim has one game left with Chicago and Nashville.
With every team in the Northwest Division still in the running for post-season spots in the Western Conference, these games will be hard fought and crucial for both sides.
The Minnesota Wild visit Anaheim one more time in early March. The Ducks visit Edmonton for a final game between the teams in mid April. Calgary, Vancouver and Colorado will each play the Ducks on two occasions before the season ends on April 17th for Anaheim.
As you look at both Western and Eastern Conference standings going into the final month and a half of the regular season, it is very difficult to pick all eight teams in each conference that will qualify for the post-season.
For the Mighty Ducks, it is crucial for them to continue their winning ways coming out of the Olympic break. Anaheim begins play just three points out of a playoff position.
A total of nine points separate positions 5 through 11 in the West with seven teams fighting for a playoff spot within that particular grouping. Needless to say, the next twenty-five games will be fun to watch.
The Mighty Ducks have 65 points, based on a 27-19-11 record. The club’s 27 wins and 65 points both equal the best mark in club history, as the 2002-2003 Mighty Ducks had a virtually identical record (27-19-7-4). Anaheim also has 14 more points than they had through 57 games in 2003-2004 (18-24-8-7 for 51 points).
Since Thanksgiving, the Ducks are 19-8-7. The club’s .662 winning percentage during that stretch ranks third in the Western Conference (behind only Detroit and Dallas). The Ducks own an 11-3-2 record at home since Thanksgiving, a .750 winning percentage that leads the Western Conference.
When play gets back underway on Wednesday night at the Pond, Andy McDonald will bring an 11 game point streak into the Red Wings contest. His streak is the longest by a Duck since Teemu Selanne’s 13-game point streak from January 21st, 2000-Feb 18, 2000. McDonald’s 11-game point streak ties the sixth longest in club history (Selanne holds the club record, 17 games in 1998-99).
The Ducks and Red Wings have met twice this season and each team having a win under their belt. On October 21st, the Wings edged the Ducks 3-2 in Detroit. The two teams hooked up again in Anaheim on November 25th. And the Ducks recorded a 3-2 decision over Detroit. Andy McDonald, Teemu Selanne and Jonathan Hedstrom scored to pace the Ducks attack. Selanne has scored two goals versus Detroit during the season series.
Hope you are all ready for the stretch run. It starts Wednesday night.