The season started so well for the Anaheim Ducks, but the party is over.
On Sunday night the Ducks were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in game seven by a score of 3-2. Adios first round. Adios potential match up with the Los Angeles Kings. Now the Ducks will begin their off season.
“It’s very disappointing," said Teemu Selanne. "We had two chances to close the series, but we couldn’t. The goal was to try and play the best game of the series in this Game 7 and we couldn’t do it. That’s very disappointing. They played well. Credit to those guys, but it’s still very disappointing we couldn’t play our best game tonight.”
Equally disappointing is knowing that Selanne, who will turn 43 in July, may very well retire. Finally. This was not the way to go out.
It would have been less painful if the Ducks had played a great game and were merely met by a slightly better opponent. Game seven wasn't even close.
Henrik Zetterberg scored at 1:44 of the first period, yet another reminder of Anaheim's poor starts to hockey games.
"We wanted to have a good start. Then we just kept kind of playing," said Zetterberg. "There were a few moments where they took over and we were on our heels, but overall I think I made it way more interesting than it should be."
The Ducks fourth line continued to produce like a top line is supposed to. Emerson Etem got his third of the playoffs at 13:48 to tie up the game. Too bad his line could not have been cloned, because they could have used a couple more lines with that kind of energy and determination.
The lead did not last too long. At 16:37 Justin Abdelkader intercepted Francois Beauchemin's errant pass, took off alone down the ice and scored a short handed goal that felt like a knife in the heart.
In the second period Valteri Filppula added to the Red Wings lead at 13:45 and you knew were the game was headed at that point.
Beauchemin redeemed himself slightly with a power play goal at 16:44 of the third period, but 3-2 was as close as Anaheim came.
They just could not muster another one of their miracle come from behind efforts. The well was just dry.
"We've said all year that we can't keep putting ourselves behind the eight-ball," said Ryan Getzlaf. "Game 7 is a prime example of that. It's tough. Everybody's diving in front of pucks [and stopping them] with the teeth if they have to. It's just a tough way to go."
It was tough all the way around.
"There's no explanation [for the slow starts]," said Selanne. "That's pretty much our problem all year. If we could fix that one problem, this would be a total different case … we have to learn something from this. I think we deserve better than this, but that's hockey. The playoffs are so much fun, and very disappointing to be out right now in the first round. We were looking forward to go further and enjoy this more, but that's why it's so tough right now. But it's too late now."
Ducks fans deserve better, too.