As disappointing as it was to see Anaheim's run come to an end in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, it was a season full of memorable moments. From dramatic overtime victories to new franchise records, the 2016-17 season, as a whole, was a rollercoaster ride of emotion. We here at AnaheimDucks.com have compiled a list of the top 20 moments from this past season, and we didn't just limit it to the players themselves (as you'll see).
We begin with Top Moments 20-16.
20) Bieksa Goes Undercover
This one dates back to September when veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa decided to go "Undercover Boss" style during Anaheim's preseason opener against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center. Bieksa, self-proclaimed "Shovel Boy" for the evening, had the job of removing excess snow that builds up on the ice during game action. Normally, this job is handled by one of the ice crew members here at Honda Center, and is done quickly and effectively. This time, however, Bieksa makes sure to leave a lasting impression on players from both teams, especially teammate Cam Fowler. Perhaps his best moment came when he made his way past Arizona's bench. "Beep, beep, Coyotes! My favorite animal," he said, as he inched his way past. Later, he proceeded to troll Coyotes goaltender Justin Peters by doing lunges as he cleared the slot of snow. Always a character, Bieksa made sure he started the 2016-17 (pre)season on a strong note.
Video: Bieksa goes undercover at a Ducks preseason game
19) Corporal Nero Steals the Show
On a night when the Ducks honored the United States Armed Forces by hosting Military Appreciation Night at Honda Center, Military Police Patrol/Explosive Detector Dog Corporal Nero won the hearts of many when he stepped onto the ice for the honorary puck drop. Led by Military Police K-9 Handler Lance Corporal Brandon C. Benningfield, Corporal Nero trotted to center ice with a puck in his mouth, much to the delight of the crowd. After being introduced by Ducks public address announcer Phil Hulett, Corporal Nero, heeling next to Lance Corporal Benningfield, dropped the puck on command in front of team captains Ryan Getzlaf and Mark Giordano. Lance Corporal Benningfield and Corporal Nero were met with a rousing applause from the crowd and from Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, who accompanied them at center ice. The Ducks went on to defeat the Flames, 4-1, but it was Lance Corporal Benningfield and Corporal Nero who truly found the win column. The video took off on social media, with 1.9 million views across three platforms (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram) and 7.3 million people reached.
Video: CGY@ANA: Bomb-sniffing dog drops the puckVideo: Get to know Corporal Nero, who dropped the puck
18) Montour Buries First Career NHL Goal, Celebrates Like a Boss
No sleep, no problem for rookie defenseman Brandon Montour, who endured one of the more taxing 24 hours you'll see in professional hockey. Recalled minutes after he scored the overtime-winner for the San Diego Gulls in a road game against the Ontario Reign on February 3, Montour made a beeline to LAX for a red-eye flight to Detroit. There, he connected on a flight to Tampa that landed in the morning, and, hours later, found himself in the lineup against the Lightning. Montour's goal was a beauty - a blistering one-timer off a feed from Jakob Silfverberg at the 8:19 mark of the opening period. The goal came in just his sixth career NHL game. Although the Ducks lost the game in a shootout, Montour's performance was a foreshadowing of things to come. He finished the regular season with six points (2g/4a) and a +11 rating in 27 games, and added seven points (all assists) and a +12 rating in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Video: ANA@TBL: Montour buries one-timer for first NHL goal
17) Epic Dance-Off at Honda Center
What began as an innocent shot of a Ducks fan dancing along to Martin Garrix's "Animals" quickly evolved into a full-on dance battle between her and two other Ducks fans during an intermission on March 3 in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The battle lasted over two minutes and featured timeless classics like the Sprinkler, the Bees Knees and the Robot, as well as the Bernie Lean. The video caught fire and went viral on social media, becoming the most-watched video ever on the Ducks' Facebook channel. In all, the video has reached more than 14.8 million people and has been viewed five million times across Facebook and Twitter.
16) Ryker Kesler Shines at All-Star Weekend
Not since Teemu Selanne was honored on April 12, 2014 has a Duck been cheered so heartily at Staples Center, but leave it to six-year-old Ryker Kesler - son of Ryan Kesler - to draw one of the biggest ovations during the 2017 NHL All-Star Skills Competition on January 28. It was during the shootout portion of the skills event when little Kes stole the show with a sneaky five-hole goal on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. After falling to the ice, Ryker pumped his arms in celebration, and the Kings-heavy crowd at Staples Center responded in kind. "To be able to have him on the ice with me, and have memories like scoring on Carey Price, who is probably the best goalie in the world, in an All-Star skills competition, he'll remember that for the rest of his life," said Ryan, who had his entire family with him for the All-Star weekend.
The following day, the elder Kesler and Cam Fowler took part in the All-Star Game for the Pacific Division. While it represented the second career All-Star appearance for Kesler following his 2011 debut in Carolina, it marked the debut for Fowler, who became the fifth defenseman and the youngest blueliner in franchise history to appear in an All-Star Game.
Video: Ryker Kesler's big night at the Skills Competition