For a team that is supposed to be fighting for a playoff spot, this is not the way to get things done. On Sunday night the Ducks blew a 3-0 lead only to lose 4-3 in a shootout to Montreal.
That is the second time in a week that the Ducks have blown a lead. They blew a 2-0 lead against Colorado last Wednesday as well. This is getting to be a bad habit.
Against Montreal, they only got one point for their efforts, which was more than they got against Colorado. And at this time of year, every point is critical.
Since coming back from the Olympic break, the Ducks are 0-2-1. Prior to the break, they were just three points out of a playoff spot. In this short time, the Ducks have slipped to 13th in the Western Conference and are now six points out of a playoff spot.
The Ducks had a franchise-record 11-game winning streak at home and they would need to continue that dominance to have a chance at the playoffs for the fifth year straight. So far the Ducks have looked mediocre in their own building.
There are 17 games left and the Ducks are at 30-27-8 with 68 points. Realistically, they still would need 95 points to assure themselves of a playoff spot.
Want to do the math? The Ducks need 27 points in 17 games to reach 95 points. That is 27 out of 34 points. Or 13-4-1 to end the season.
“Where we are at in the standings right now and the points that we needed, we can’t lose any extra points here,” said Saku Koivu. “We have to be ready for the next one. These next two weeks are going to be critical for us. We can make a difference and make a push if we’re successful on this one and that’s what we’re looking for.”
While not impossible, don’t go to Vegas with those odds. No wonder the Ducks only want to look at one game at a time. It is a daunting task ahead of them.
Everyone keeps talking about how the Ducks are a great team in the second half and how well they do at the end. They certainly did that last year, just squeaking into the playoffs at the last moment. Even GM Bob Murray showed his faith in the team’s ability by making minor tweaks at the trade deadline, rather than selling off assets.
Perhaps what the Ducks truly need to learn is how to be a great team in the first half of the season as well. Right now, the hole that they dug for themselves at the beginning of the season really might be too deep to climb out.
It really is “must win” against Columbus this evening. If they can’t even defeat Columbus, who is playing the second of back-to-back games, who isn’t even in playoff contention, in their own building, then the Ducks should just tank from here on out and go for a higher draft pick. Anything other than a win will be unacceptable.