10. Rakell Nets Natty Hatty vs. Edmonton
Rickard Rakell will be the first to admit that, like a lot of his teammates, the 2018-19 campaign wasn't his best. After scoring 30-plus goals each of the past two seasons, Rakell had just 18 in 69 games - but he showed flashes of his brilliance in a hurry against Edmonton on March 30.
Rakell reeled off three unanswered goals in the second period of an eventual 5-1 drubbing of the Oilers at Rogers Place. In doing so, he became just the second player in Ducks history to record a natural hat trick in one period on the road (joining Andrew Cogliano on Jan. 31, 2012 at Phoenix). It was the eighth natural hat trick in club history - the first since Corey Perry on Jan. 14, 2015 vs. Toronto - and the sixth time in club history a player scored three goals in a single period.
Rakell endured some goal-scoring slumps during the season, but the hat trick gave him seven goals in a five-game stretch in March and nine in his last 15. He came on strong to finish the season, recording 17 points in his final 17 games.
In the game at Edmonton, Rakell scored his first just 1:21 into the second period and got the second at 8:48. The hat trick was a Swedish trifecta, as Rakell's shot from the left wing came off assists from Jakob Silfverberg and Hampus Lindholm.
Video: ANA@EDM: Rakell buries wrister for natural hatty
It was the payoff of the experiment of having Rakell and Silfverberg play together on a forward line. "Ricky and I have been having fun the past couple weeks," Silfverberg siad. "I really like playing with him, and I think he likes playing with me, too. We'll see what happens going into next year."
9. Comtois Gets His Career, Ducks Season Off to Great Start
It was more than any rookie would dare dream of in his NHL debut, and it was a surreal moment for then 19-year-old winger Max Comtois. The 2017 Ducks second round pick scored just 49 seconds into his first NHL game, helping the Ducks to a 5-2 victory over the Sharks on opening night in San Jose.
Comtois' breakaway goal was the sixth-fastest goal in NHL modern-era history by a player making his league debut. It was also the fastest to start an NHL career since October 5, 1989 when Buffalo's Alexander Mogilny scored 20 second into the first vs. Quebec.
Video: ANA@SJS: Comtois scores on first shot in NHL debut
"I wouldn't have believed it if you said it to me before the game," Comtois said. "It was a good play by Rico [Adam Henrique] to poke the puck to me, and I found a way to put it into the back of the net. Really happy. I didn't want to shoot it off the pad or miss that chance. It was a great play overall. I'm really happy to get this one out of the way."
8. Kesler Overcomes Adversity to Play Game 1,000
The road to 1,000 games is an arduous one for any player, but it was especially challenging for veteran Ducks center Ryan Kesler, who overcame a debilitating hip injury to make it to the career milestone. In a 3-1 victory over the Coyotes in Arizona on March 5, Kesler became one of 25 active skaters and the 333rd player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career NHL games. He was also the 49th American player to appear in 1,000 games and the 11th such player to hit the milestone as a Duck.
Kesler's battles with the hip are well-documented, after he had major surgery in June 2017 and played roughly half of the ensuing season with limited mobility. It was around February of last year that Dr. Marc Philippon, who eight months prior had performed the arthroscopic surgery on Kesler's right hip, brought up the possibility of him walking away from the game.
"I knew if he had to give up before 1,000, it would kill him," said Kesler's wife Andrea on March 6 at Honda Center, the night Kesler played game 1,001 and was honored by the Ducks in a pregame ceremony. "So I stepped up to the plate and took the initiative to ask, 'How do we get there?'"
Read the full story of the Kesler family's emotions regarding game 1,000
Kesler endured months of grueling conditioning with his physical therapists and on his own to get the hip back in shape, testing both his resolve and his patience. The road to recovery included having to basically learn to walk again to put less pressure on the hip.
He played 60 games this past season, but that one in Arizona meant the most of all to him personally. "It's a privilege to play in this league," Kesler said. "Just to be able to play for this long, not many guys have done it. Especially with the last couple years I've had, with everybody that's helped me out and gotten me through the last two years, it makes it even more special."
7. Rookie Steels the Show in Vancouver
No matter how many years Sam Steel goes on to play this game, he'll likely never forget the night of March 26, 2019. The rookie Ducks center became just the second rookie in Ducks history to record a hat trick in propelling Anaheim to a 5-4 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver
At 21 years, 51 days, he was also the youngest in franchise history to pull off the feat. At 21 years, 297 days, Bobby Ryan became the first Ducks rookie to record a hat trick on Jan. 8, 2009 at Los Angeles.
Video: ANA@VAN: Steel registers first career hat trick
"It's a big night," Steel said. "To get it with the team winning, it's pretty special. Definitely something I'll remember."
Steel got his first goal on a breakaway 9:09 into the first period and his first career multi-goal came when he pounced on a rebound with 7:44 left in the second. Late in that period, the Ducks were awarded a penalty shot when Canucks forward Markus Granlund was penalized for pushing a broken stick into the puck in the defensive zone. Interim coach Bob Murray selected Steel to take the shot, and it paid off when the rookie flipped a backhand top shelf to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.
Steel became just the third rookie in NHL history to score a regular season hat trick that included a penalty-shot goal, joining Eric Lindros (Dec. 26, 1992) and Teemu Selanne (March 9, 1993). He was also the youngest player in Ducks franchise history to score on a penalty shot.
"It was pretty cool," Steel said, on being chosen for the penalty shot. "Before they decided, some guys were giving me nudges and stuff. When I got the call, I started thinking about what to do. It worked. Happy they chose me."
6. It's Mother's Day as Ducks Defeat Florida
A late November road win in Florida was a satisfying one for the Ducks, but it was what happened after the final horn that stood as one of the more memorable moments of the season.
The 3-2 win over the Panthers was the third and last game of the first-ever "Moms Trip" in which 19 Ducks mothers accompanied the team for games in Nashville, Tampa Bay and Sunrise. After congratulating each other on the win, the Ducks skated together to center ice at BB&T Center and held their sticks high to salute their moms, who were gathered in a suite.
Video: ANA@FLA: Ducks salute their mothers after win
The group included Teresa Cogliano, Michelle Dotchin, Susan Getzlaf, Karen Gibbons, Teresa Henrique, Linda Kesler, Petra Lindholm, Lana Manson, Teresa Miller, Tammy Montour, Catrin Pettersson, Annika Rakell, Tammy Ritchie, Tracy Rowney, Yuko Sherwood and Janice Street. Each wore a Ducks jersey with their son's name and number on the back.
"My mom's waited 14 years for this," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "She's been asking me for years. She's having a blast."
Nick Ritchie helped the Ducks to the victory over the Panthers with two goals, including the go-ahead tally with 1:28 left in regulation.
"I'd like to keep her for a while," Ritchie said of mom Tammy. "She's good luck. It was awesome. To come back and win two on a back to back. They're so excited and proud of us. We were excited to have them on the trip."
Bonus Off-Ice Top Moment: Silfverberg Inks Five-Year Extension
The Ducks made a long-term commitment to Jakob Silfverberg on March 2, signing the 28-year-old winger to a five-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season.
Silfverberg has had 20-plus goals in three of his six seasons in Anaheim, and he was leading the Ducks in goal-scoring at the time of the deal. He got hot after the ink dried on the contract as well, scoring seven goals and 19 points in his final 17 games of the season. He would end up with 24 goals in 73 contests.
Video: SJS@ANA: Silfverberg pots wrister 38 seconds into OT
"I've been here pretty much my entire career," said Silfverberg, who was acquired from Ottawa with Stefan Noesen and a first-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft in exchange for Bobby Ryan on July 5, 2013. "I really like it here. My son was born here, too, and my wife loves it here. Other than this year, this is a winning organization. It's a place to win. I'm excited for the future."