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Ducks not thinking about past Game 7 failures

Anaheim, which hosts Oilers, has been eliminated in winner-take-all situation at home in each of past four seasons

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Maybe it is a beneficial quirk in the schedule that the Anaheim Ducks have two days off, rather than one, before Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers of the Western Conference Second Round.

An extra day for the Ducks to mend physically and mentally after a 7-1 loss in Game 6 on Sunday at Rogers Place, the first time in franchise history they have allowed seven goals in a playoff game.

Game 7 is on Wednesday at Honda Center (TBD).

"After this, maybe it is a good thing to have a couple of days to flush it," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said on Sunday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Oilers series coverage

 

Fowler said he would try to get his mind off hockey for the day and play with his dog. At least that's one way not to get asked about Game 7 shortcomings.

"The worst thing I think you can do is think about hockey the whole time," Fowler said. "We have two days in between. Enjoy the little things in life. There's more to life than hockey. Then get mentally and physically refreshed and come Wednesday I expect us all to be ready to play."

Randy Carlyle, who returned to coach the Ducks this season after coaching them from 2005-11 already kick-started the process by creating separation from the failures in the last four Game 7s -- "I wasn't here" - and saying this team was a "different group" from the others.

This will be the fifth straight year the Ducks have played a Game 7. They are on a 0-4 run, having lost Game 7s to the Nashville Predators (2016), the Chicago Blackhawks (2015), the Los Angeles Kings (2014) and the Detroit Red Wings (2013). Each also followed a loss in Game 6 when the Ducks had a chance to close out the series.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Fowler said. "I don't think we should be thinking about the past at all. We should be thinking about the present and the opportunity we have and I think we're excited for that."

The Ducks are 2-6 in Game 7s in franchise history, which includes one win in five Game 7s on home ice. Their last Game 7 victory was more than a decade ago, in the Western Conference First Round against the Flames at Calgary in 2006.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm6: Rakell, Perry combine for nifty goal

This series has been a wild affair of huge momentum swings and there's been virtually no correlation from one night to the next. So there's no reason to think Wednesday will be any different.

Each team have been resilient, even dating to the first round. The youthful Oilers, in fact, rebounded impressively in Games 5 and 6 after a devastating 7-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the first round.

Now everyone will be looking for a hero.

On Sunday, the hero was Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who had five points (three goals, two assists), and in Game 5, it was Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who started the unprecedented rally in the final 3:16 of regulation with the first goal and set up the winner in a 4-3 overtime victory.

Who will step up and be Mr. Game 7 on Wednesday?

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