The Ducks got another OT win, and while they're giving away points, they're also bringing up the rear in the race, so perhaps focusing on getting two points is all they can do right now. The team is back to exploiting dramatic winning streaks to feed its bid to stay relevant in this Western Conference playoff push, and the sellout crowd at the Pond got an eyeful of a Ducks team that won't submit, especially to its own mistakes.
So, from the most pessimistic person at Anaheim Calling to the second most pessimistic person at Anaheim Calling, I have to ask, Daniel, are you starting to believe?
'Believe' is a strong word. I guess, I'll say this: the elements are there. Perry and Getzlaf continue to light up the score sheet. Selanne insists on scoring in the last 2 minutes whenever the Ducks are down by a goal. Sbisa and Beauchemin are playing a very physical game. Lubo is bringing the offense, while Lydman stays at home and blocks shots.
I like this team, and they've battled back to the most important condition in a playoff race, they control their own fate. They currently have the tie breaker over Dallas, and no one within striking distance has a game in hand on them. From here on out, it can be simple for the Ducks, keep winning and you've got a chance. I'm not making any predictions, or anything. That's a fact of their situation. Again, I like the way the team has been playing. At the beginning of the season, this team wouldn't have come back to win this game.
Do I believe? I'm not sure. But I know I'll enjoy watching this team for the rest of the season, and I'm not sure a fan can ask for more than that.
I think the toughest part of these dramatic winning streaks is that they stir that inner belief. They pull the fruit from the bottom of your yogurt cup, and they make you think that all that "turn the corner" magic that never seemed to stick, both this season and last, is finally true.
The magic/tragic number spreadsheet behind the scenes at SBN underscores how tightly packed this race has remained, and how fragile a foothold any team making a legitimate playoff march in the West has right now. And they give you extreme scenarios (i.e. should the Stars win out and the Ducks lose a point) that grow in their relevance every single game.
But I honestly feel like I'm one Corey Perry overtime winner from believing, and one Teemu Selanne time-expiring, game-tying goal from that belief soundly defeating math. Because, for all of my jokes of the rhetoric of playing playoff hockey in March, this is what playoff hockey looks like. There are mistakes when the game is on the line, to which each team responds by trying to bear down, either to keep the game decided or put it back in contention. And then, Teemu Selanne does Selanne flavored things on the power play, Corey Perry singlehandedly sends everyone to the showers, and, well, you just can't put the fruit back at the bottom of the cup after seeing that.