The party is officially over for the Anaheim Ducks. While not mathematically eliminated, a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues means it is only a matter of time before the numbers do add up.
Losses to Los Angeles, Buffalo and Colorado last week made the road to the post season even more difficult. Victories over Calgary and Edmonton helped delay the inevitable, but the latest defeat means that the Ducks have to win virtually every single game for the remainder of the season. That would be 14 in a row to end the season. Not happening.
The Ducks got on the board first with a goal from Corey Perry at 4:18 of the second period. It was Perry’s 34th goal of the season. Getting anything past Jaroslav Halak was an accomplishment. Halak made certain nothing else went into the net.
The Blues would not be kept off the board for long. Give them a power play or two, and that would be all they needed. David Backes tied up the game at 11:38 with the man advantage. Jonas Hiller kept the game tied 1-1 going into the third period, but he could not stop the Blues, who are on a hot streak right now.
Patrik Berglund’s goal at 4:47 gave St. Louis their first lead of the game. Another power play goal from Backes at 6:48 sealed the deal for the Blues.
A late power play opportunity for the Ducks saw them pulling Hiller for a 6 on 4 advantage. While nothing went in the empty net for the Blues, nothing went in the other end either and the Ducks saw their fourth loss in six games.
Not the way they wanted to start a three game road trip.
The Blues are now officially in first place overall in the NHL. They switched their coach early on in the season and have since been spectacular. Credit has to go to Ken Hitchcock for getting the Blues on the same page and having success.
What might have happened if the Ducks had switched out their coach earlier on? Then again, Bruce Boudreau was not available earlier in the season.
So for now, the Ducks are still mired in 12th place in the Western Conference. They are seven points out of 8th place and every single team they are chasing, with the exception of Colorado, have at least one game in hand over the Ducks.
The Ducks only have a possible 96 points (assuming winning the rest of the way) and the teams ahead of them have four to twelve more points possible. What can the Ducks look forward to? Teemu Selanne having a fabulous rest of the season. He is already tied with his boyhood ideol Jari Kurri for 19th overall at 1,398 points.
Anaheim won’t stop fighting until the math truly does play out and they are eliminated. But truly, Selanne deserves better than this for what is likely his final season.