It was just too much. The hole the Ducks dug themselves in the first half of the season was just too much to overcome. The Ducks had a great run in January and February, but again, the point differential was too much. No matter what Bruce Boudreau says now, I have to believe the Ducks and their run to the playoffs are done. They would pretty much have to win all of their remaining 13 games - in regulation - to even have a shot. Unfortunately, this team isn't built for that and all of their good luck seemingly ended with last season.
While this 2-0 loss to Dallas was crushing, that wasn't the worst part of the game. In the second period, Ducks' leading scorer Corey Perry, slammed into the boards awkwardly with his right shoulder. Perry is one of the toughest guys in the league, having played in 272 straight games. He takes a beating every game and always stays in. In true Perry fashion, he tried to shake it off and play another shift in the second. He couldn't function up to his expectations and left for the locker room. Perry didn't start the 3rd period on the bench, but later emerged from the locker room to take his place on the bench. Three shifts for Perry later, his night was done in just 1:45 on the ice. The Ducks have said that x-rays on Perry were negative (didn't say where, just an 'upper body injury') and his status is listed as day-to-day. No word on his availability for Monday versus Colorado. He'll want to play, but Boudreau has to think big picture.
This is eerily reminiscent to the last time the Ducks missed the playoffs in the 2009-2010 season. Ryan Getzlaf was having a stellar year before injuring his ankle. Getzlaf went on to play in the Olympics for Canada, but was never the same when he returned to Anaheim. Getzlaf's season ended with nine games left to play after the Ducks couldn't secure their spot.
The only solace I can take right now is that all three California teams are out of playoff contention. I wouldn't mind if the season ended that way.
[UPDATE: Perry's injury is considered by the Ducks to be not so serious. BB said it's a matter of if Pears can play through the pain.]GOOD
-- His name is Jonas and he's saving our asses. This game could have easily been 6-0, if it wasn't for the incredible play of Jonas Hiller. As we look ahead to next year, this should be a great sign for Ducks fans that Hiller is who we expect him to be, and he's able to carry a heavy workload.
-- I have a love-hate relationship with Ryan Getzlaf. This season has had more hate moments than it has had love moments, but as of late, he's stepped up into a more mature role. He may not be scoring (team-high 6 shots tonight), but he's contributing elsewhere by winning his draws (9 for 15) and being physical. I think we're beginning to see a turn in Getzlaf and I have a feeling that it goes back to Bruce Boudreau. BB is all about the positive and giving people confidence. Getzy's game has lack a whole lot of confidence lately, but instead of turning that into frustration, he's just gone out and played hard. Although they didn't score, it was kind of fun to watch him with some guy named Bobby Ryan while Perry was sidelined.
-- I frequently admit my bias for Saku Koivu and tonight will be no different. He had some rough moments, but I thought he and Getzlaf were giving the Ducks the best chance to win tonight. Koivu was playing in his 999th NHL game this evening. Considering that he had to stop playing to beat cancer, that is some feat. His contract is up at the end of this season and I hope that he has one more year left in him - regardless of what Teemu decides to do.
-- The Ducks were able to keep Duck Hunter Loui Eriksson at bay. He was credited with an assist on the empty net goal at the end of the game and that's huge. He's usually a multi-point night guy when he plays Anaheim.
-- One of the areas I'm seeing the difference between Carlyle's Ducks and Boudreau's Ducks is in the protection of the stars of the team. After Stefan Robidas boarded Corey Perry leading to his injury, the Ducks didn't do anything in response. Carlyle's Ducks would have had George Parros or Matt Beleskey out there intentionally trying to start something or at least take a couple whacks at the Stars key guys.
-- With Nick Bonino's injury, Boudreau called up center Ryan O'Marra from Syracuse and moved Andrew Cogliano back to center. Both guys had crappy nights. Cogliano went 4 for 9 and O'Marra went 2 for 6 on the dot. The third and fourth lines feel like they're in a bit of disaray without Bonino. Plus having Jason Blake (Stonehands) and Cogliano (son of Stonehands) on one line isn't going to score you many goals.
-- That had to be one of the worst officiated games I've seen all season. Ryan Getzlaf received a goalie interferrence penalty for brushing Kari Lehtonen as he skated past him. Lehtonen reacted as if a sniper just took him out and flopped down to the ice. Sheldon Brookbank was whistled for roughing while Morrow, the second guy in, got nothing. Steve Ott continued to be a douche. With the struggles of the penalty kill, the Ducks were lucky that only one goal was scored on them out of the six chances the Stars had.
-- Have you seen this boy?