Saturday April 1st, 2017, 7:00 PM PST
Radio: The Mighty AM 1090, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Copper & Blue
It’s difficult to remember the last time the Ducks played this many incredibly important games near the end of the season.
Anaheim may have clinched a playoff spot, but their remaining games will not only determine who they play in the first round, but give the world a glimpse into how ready they are to make a deep cup run.
So far, the results have been extremely encouraging, with the exception of Thursday’s 3rd period actually-kind-of-impressive turtle against the Winnipeg Jets.
4 of the remaining 5 games left on the season come against playoff teams: Edmonton, Calgary (X2), and Chicago. Every one of these teams would prove to be a handful for the Ducks given their recent play, so the true playoff-ready report card will be graded come the completion of the regular season on April 9th.
Led by Ryan Getzlaf’s monstrous recent play combined with Corey Perry lighting on fire out of nowhere with 4 goals and 5 total points in his last 5 games, the leaders have carried the team lately and have given them new confidence headed into the postseason.
It’s likely we’ll see John Gibson make his first start since March 10th in St. Louis and just his second start since February 19th. Jonathan Bernier, for all of his incredible play since assuming full-time duty with Gibson injured, appears to be showing some fatigue.
It’s difficult to blame him, as he’s started all but 1 game this month, and has had to face many excellent playoff teams in that span.
Edmonton, meanwhile, will be looking for revenge against an Anaheim team that forced out goaltender Cam Talbot in the 2nd period in a 4-3 win at Honda Center 2 weeks ago
They’ll also be looking to send a message to the Ducks that they can skate with them stride for stride in the playoffs. Connor McDavid scored his first goal against the Ducks in that last game after being shutdown relatively effectively by the Ryan Kesler line.
He’ll have to show that he’s capable of truly breaking free of Kesler’s hounding in order to lead his team through their first playoff series in 11 years.