Playoffs...playoffs...playoff mode...playoff hockey from here on out...the kind of team that has to play playoff hockey for the final month of the season.
It's a comforting echo in any locker room on the Ides of March. It's the sign of a team on the same page, even if that page is simply to proclaim platitudes containing the word 'playoffs.' The discomfort comes from the fact that that very same echo is carrying through a half dozen locker rooms across the Western Conference.
And, truthfully, playoff hockey may not be good enough for most of the Western Conference's playoff hopefuls from here on out. In playoff hockey, 4-3 every seven will get you home. In playoff hockey, you control your own destiny, at least as much as physics, referees and the hockey gods will let you. The race is not playoff hockey. It's the cold ass game whereby some lucky bastards, perhaps no better than the unlucky fools who miss the cut, see their way into bonus hockey at the end of a checkered season.
The Ducks are hoping to be lucky bastards . . . but I'm sure the mental toughness is also important.