The Anaheim Ducks came into Arizona knowing it needed a win against the Coyotes in order to have any hope of hosting in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They also knew that wouldn’t be enough as they also needed the San Jose Sharks to not gain any points in its matchup against the Minnesota Wild. Well, the Ducks took care of business in dominate fashion earning a 3-0 shutout win over Arizona. About 90-minutes later, they received even more great news with the Sharks falling to the Wild in regulation. After a rollercoaster season and a plethora of injuries, the Ducks managed to capture second place in the Pacific and for at least one round, have home-ice advantage as they host those Sharks.
The game pretty much summed up each team’s seasons. The Ducks looked like a team gearing up to make a playoff-run, while the Coyotes fought hard but just couldn’t solve Ryan Miller even though they were handed numerous man-advantages. Anaheim would receive goals from Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm, and a 31 save effort from its backup goalie Ryan Miller.
All-in-all it was a great way to end the regular season as the Ducks are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games and are entering the postseason as one of the leagues hottest teams. They have won their last 5 contests and finished the season with 101 points giving them 5 consecutive seasons with at least 100 points. They are only the ninth team in NHL history to accomplish that feat. It’s remarkable how this team was able to finish the season, considering all the injuries it faced early on. To make the playoffs, let alone finish second place in the division speaks volumes of this team’s grit and determination which is a much needed trait when entering the playoffs.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that way with where we’ve come from. We had a plan and we tried to execute a plan. I’m not standing here saying it was perfect by any means. We had lots of speed bumps along the way, but it’s about trying to garner points and move up in the standings.” - Ducks Head Coach Randy Carlyle
Best And Worst
Best - Ryan Miller. What an offseason acquisition he turned out to be. Miller was able to stop all 31 shots from the Coyotes to record his 3rd shutout of the season and finish with a record of 32-18-7. Most importantly of all, the Ducks can confidently head into the playoffs knowing their backup goalie’ s ability, which wasn’t necessarily the case a season ago.
Adam Henrique - Uncle Rico has been a tremendous addition to the team this season. Although the team had to give away a solid defender in Sami Vatanen to acquire him, he was definitely worth the cost. Henrique has provided 20 goals for the Ducks since being acquired and has given Anaheim a solid scoring threat on its third line making this team deeper and harder to matchup against.
Rickard Rakell - Rakell was able to reach a career high in goals this season with 34 after getting one in the final game. He has been tremendous on the first line with Getzlaf and Perry and should perform well in the playoffs if he can stay healthy.
Penalty Kill - This unit has been solid for most of the season and yet again was on display all night against the Coyotes killing off all four of the power plays it faced. To make a deep playoff run, you need to kill off man advantages, and the Ducks have shown they are among the best in the league in doing so.
Worst - Penalties. This has been one of the team’s biggest concerns this season. Although they have a highly ranked penalty killing unit, the team takes far too many penalties. Anaheim gave Arizona four man-advantages in the game, and although the Coyotes were unable to capitalize on them, the Ducks will face much more formidable opponents in the postseason that will find a way to capitalize on those mistakes.
Three Stars Of The Game
1. Ryan Miller -
MILESTONE: With the win tonight, @RyanMiller3039 passed Tom Barrasso for sole possession of second on the all-time wins list among U.S.-born goaltenders! pic.twitter.com/XfF8p1ayWK— x - Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) April 8, 2018
Miller stopped all 31 shots for his 4th shutout of the season, 43rd of his career, and his 370th win overall.
2. Rickard Rakell - 1 Goal and 1 Assist giving him a career high and team leading 34 goals on the season. Rakell also finished with a team high 69 points.
3. Adam Henrique - 1 Goal giving him 24 on the season and 20 since the Ducks acquired him.
It's SoCal vs. NorCal!— x - Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) April 8, 2018
The Battle of California is on for the First Round, and we open @HondaCenter against San Jose: https://t.co/M86KQA6yls #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/QXSRP49Eml
The Anaheim Ducks will host the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with date and times being determined later this afternoon.
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