By Kyle Shohara
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 is counting down the Top 20 moments from the past season. Here is the final installment: 5-1
5. MARCH 14, 2016
SILFVERBERG POTS THREE
It was a career-setting performance for the Swede with the golden locks. For on that night, Jakob Silfverberg recorded his first career hat trick and four-point game, and first +4 rating. He became the 17th different Duck to record a hat trick (48th hat trick overall), and it was the first by a Duck not named Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf since Andrew Cogliano accomplished the feat on March 2, 2013 at Phoenix. The game itself wasn't close. In the end, the Ducks defeated the New Jersey Devils, 7-1, giving them points in 10 consecutive home games (9-0-1). Rookie Nick Ritchie also scored his first career goal in the win.
4. MARCH 26, 2016
THE COMEBACK KIDS STRIKE AGAIN, THIS TIME IN OTTAWA
Entering the third period down three goals in a game the Senators thoroughly controlled through the first 40 minutes, the Ducks staged a dramatic comeback which included the tying goal with 58 seconds remaining in regulation. The comeback started with Ryan Getzlaf’s goal
5:43 into the final frame. Jakob Silfverberg cut the deficit to one with his goal
at 11:31, and then it was Hampus Lindholm who used his strength to overpower Senators defenseman Fredrik Claesson in front of the net for the game-tying marker
. Rickard Rakell won it in overtime, on the power play, with his 20th goal of the season
. Anaheim's three-goal comeback was the ninth such comeback in franchise history and matched the franchise record for largest road comeback (third time, first since Jan. 23, 2010 at St. Louis; trailed, 3-0, at the 5:13 mark of the third period). Anaheim trailed Ottawa, 3-0, at the 16:28 mark of the second period, tied the game, 3-3, 19:02 into the third period and won, 4-3, at the 2:38 mark of the overtime period.
3. JANUARY 13, 2016
‘SHEA’ HEY! ROOKIE THEODORE GETS HIS FIRST
In what was already an impressive rookie season, defenseman Shea Theodore made this a night to remember when he scored his first career NHL goal in dramatic fashion. With the score tied, 1-1, and the Ducks on the power play late in regulation, Theodore accepted a pass from Ryan Getzlaf just inside the blueline on the left side. Theodore skated in uncontested and snapped a shot past Craig Anderson
with 4:55 left in the game to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead. The 20-year-old gave an emphatic fist pump before being mobbed by his linemates. The goal actually opened the floodgates for Anaheim, which scored twice more in a 4-1 victory over the Sens. On his goal, Theodore said, “It took a couple games to get, and the guys were on me, but it feels good to get the first one out of the way. I just panicked after. It felt good.”
2. MARCH 5, 2016
DUCKS SET FRANCHISE MARK IN SATISFYING FASHION
Never in their 23-year lifetime had the Ducks ever won 11 consecutive games, but they picked a fine place to set a franchise mark. It was a typical Ducks-Kings battle, full of big hits, physical play, post-whistle unpleasantries and a heightened, playoff-type intensity level. In the end, the Ducks grinded out a 3-2 victory over their Southern California rivals at Staples Center, giving Anaheim sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division for the first time all season. Ryan Kesler, David Perron and Jakob Silfverberg handled the scoring for Anaheim, and Frederik Andersen turned aside 32 shots to improve Anaheim's record to 18-1-1 in its past 20 games and 25-4-2 since the Christmas break. Keep in mind, the Ducks were 29th in the NHL in mid-December.
1. APRIL 10, 2016
DUCKS TAKE PACIFIC DIVISION CROWN
At long last, the Pacific Division was theirs for good. It took 82 games for the Ducks to capture their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title, and, aside from their remarkable second-half surge, it came in a rather unorthodox fashion. After their originally scheduled game at Verizon Center on Jan. 22 got rescheduled due to a severe snowstorm in the Washington D.C. area, the Ducks and Capitals played on April 10 to close out their respective seasons. For the Ducks, it meant traveling from Denver, where they had played the day before. The Capitals also played the day prior in St. Louis.
The Caps had already locked up the Presidents' Trophy, so their position in the standings wasn't going to change based on the outcome. But for Anaheim, a win of any kind would give them the division. Already without the services of forwards David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (upper body) and Rickard Rakell (appendectomy), and defensemen Sami Vatanen (flu) and Kevin Bieksa (upper body), the Ducks opted to send Ryan Kesler and John Gibson home after the game in Colorado.
Anaheim got it done anyway with a 2-0 victory over Washington, setting up a first round matchup with the Nashville Predators. The Ducks became the first NHL team to win four division titles in a row since Vancouver won five straight Northwest Division crowns from 2009-2013. Anaheim also joined San Jose (2008-11) as the only two franchises to win the Pacific Division title four years in a row since 1993-94.