By AJ Manderichio
The 2015-16 season was a wild ride that saw the Ducks erase a seemingly insurmountable 16-point deficit in the Pacific to earn their fourth consecutive division title on the final day of the regular season. After resuming play following the Christmas break, the Ducks went on a 34-10-5 run for the best record in the NHL (.745 points percentage). Anaheim led the league in wins (34), standings points (73), power-play percentage (27.5%), power-play goals (42), fewest goals allowed (104), goals allowed per game (2.1) and goal differential (+50), and ranked second in goals (154) and goals per game (3.1) and third in penalty killing percentage (86.9%) following the break.
The Ducks became the first team since 2010 and just the fourth since 2005 to post a .745+ win (73 points) percentage after the Christmas break in a full season (34-10-5). The Ducks finished the regular season 46-25-11 for 103 points, ranking first in the Pacific, fourth in the Western Conference and sixth in the NHL. It marked the third consecutive year the club has posted 100+ points, joining St. Louis and Chicago as the only NHL teams to do so each of the last three seasons.
AnaheimDucks.com will count down the Top 20 moments from the past season in the coming weeks. Here is the first installment: 20-16.
20. SWAN SONG IN EDMONTON
Rexall Place, the site of the mighty Edmonton Oilers dynasty, closed its doors on NHL hockey following the regular season. The site of seven Stanley Cup Final series, it was a house of horrors for the Ducks, who dropped 12 straight in Edmonton between 1999-2006. Since 2007, Rexall was much friendlier for Anaheim, which completed the 2015-16 season with a 16-1-1 mark in its last 18 games in Edmonton, and 25-3-2 in the last 30. This season, the Ducks outscored the Oilers, 8-4, at Rexall Place, closing their time in Edmonton with five straight wins.
19. MARCH 30, 2016
ANAHEIM PUNISHES CALGARY FOR 23RD STRAIGHT HOME WIN
Three things you can rely on: death, taxes and the Ducks beating the Calgary Flames at Honda Center. A home game against Calgary seems to bring out the best in the Ducks, who have defeated their division foes in an astonishing 23 straight regular season contests. The last was an emphatic 8-3 victory on March 30. With Calgary out the of the playoff picture – and the Ducks continuing their torrid second-half play – Anaheim pounced on the Flames for three first-period goals, chasing former netminder Jonas Hiller. The Ducks went on to add four goals in the second period and pushed the score to a touchdown and successful two-point conversion in the third.
Fifteen different players recorded a point as Anaheim tied the NHL record held by the Philadelphia Flyers, who won 23 in a row at home over Pittsburgh from Feb. 17, 1980 to Jan. 29, 1987.
18. FEBRUARY 29, 2016
BOB MURRAY DOES IT AGAIN
Trade Deadline Day brings out the best in Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray, who seems to add key pieces – while maintaining draft picks and losing little from the roster – year after year. This season was no different, as Murray nabbed power forward Jamie McGinn from Buffalo (12 points in 21 regular-season games; two goals in the First Round) and scorer Brandon Pirri from Florida. The two moves added size and skill to the roster for two draft picks – a conditional third-round selection and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.
Murray also bolstered the San Diego Gulls roster, acquiring Corey Tropp and Martin Gernat in depth moves. Tropp added 11 points in 15 regular-season games with San Diego, then posted two points (1g,1a) in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
17. NOVEMBER 4, 2015
PERRY’S DRAMATIC FIRST GOAL
Corey Perry’s goal slump at the start of the season seemed to embody the difficult beginning for the Ducks. The prolific goal scorer couldn’t buy one early, failing to find the back of the net in the team’s first 11 games. When the light shone the brightest, Perry found his first of the season, swatting a bouncing puck past Roberto Luongo to tie the game in the dying seconds of an eventual 3-2 shootout win at Honda Center. His arms outstretched to the heavens, Perry fell to his back before teammates mobbed him.
The goal sparked Perry, who would record eight points (5g,8a) over his next six games.
16. JANUARY 15, 2016
PERRON JOINS THE FLOCK
A crucial element to the second-half turnaround came to town near midnight on January 15, as the Ducks celebrated a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. David Perron, a rugged left wing, was acquired with Adam Clendening from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Carl Hagelin. Swapping speed for physical play was a necessary adjustment, and Perron’s ability to play with Ryan Getzlaf was evident when the two combined for a goal against the LA Kings in his first game.
In 28 games with Anaheim, Perron collected 20 points (8g,12a), doubling his goal total from 43 games with the Penguins. A late-season shoulder injury limited his play in the postseason, where he still managed three points (1g,2a) in the First Round series. A pending unrestricted free agent, Perron expressed a willingness to consider signing in Anaheim during his exit day interview.