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The Stanley Cup playoffs are here. Every teams tries to make the playoffs. Some teams deal with adversity. A season can change due to injuries, trades or even coaching changes. One team who faced the most adversity this season would be the Anaheim Ducks. They have been battled tested all year. They finished their hard-fought season 44-25-13 with 101 points. They were second in their division. However, their five-year division title streak came to an end.
Most of their key players were lost in the beginning of the year. Some players had offseason surgeries to recover from injuries that occurred last season. Some key players Center Ryan Kesler, the Captain Ryan Getzlaf and their Goalie John Gibson were lost at times. during the season. Not one player on this current roster played all 82 games this season. Only three duck players were close, they played 80 games. Despite all the injuries, they managed to stay close in the playoff race. Once they were healthy, the team started to shine. It is better to have the injury bug early in the year rather than later.
The handshake between the Ducks and Predators after their defeat in Game 6 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. NHL Anaheim Ducks
Since Christmas, the Ducks posted a 28-11-6 record. They ended the year by going 10-1-1 in their last 12 games. They are going into playoffs as a hot team. The ducks are hoping this Stanley Cup run is different than last year. One positive from last year is that they won a game 7 at home. They failed to do so in the previous 4 years. However, their season last year ended in Game 6 to the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Final. The Nashville Predators lost the Stanley Cup Final to the defending champions the Pittsburgh Penguins.
To open this Stanley Cup playoffs, they will be facing the San Jose Sharks (45-27-10 with 100 points.) Head to head against the Sharks this season, the ducks went 1-1-2. They lost in two shootouts. They playoff series is set to start on April 12th with the ducks having Home ice. The Ducks were ahead of San Jose by a single point in the standings.
This will be the second time in the Stanley Cup playoffs that these two rivals face off. The only other team they played was back in the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Sharks were the overall first seed and the President Trophy winners. The Ducks barely squeezed into the 8th and final playoff spot. However, the ducks pulled off a major upset by winning the series 4-2. There is no easy series in the playoffs anything can happen.
The winner of this series will face the winner of the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings series. The road to the final doesn’t get any easier. The Ducks are going to be without their top defenseman Cam Fowler. He’s out about 2-6 weeks. Their star goalie John Gibson is listed as day to day. The injury bug has bothered him all year. He left early in 7 games due to injury.
However, the ducks have a capable backup and veteran goaltender Ryan Miller, who has a ton of playoff experience. John Gibson’s injury last postseason was a huge factor. Miller has played well as of late. Only time will tell if Gibson is ready to go. This will be an exciting series to watch. These two teams don’t like each other. It would not be surprised if this series goes to a game 7.
Overall this Stanley Cup playoff should be an exciting one. Two key rivalries stick out. This would include the Ducks vs Sharks and also the Penguins vs Flyers. The Ducks came in the playoffs hot. Now they have use that momentum and find a way to win the Stanley Cup Final.
By Edward Saldana