ANAHEIM – For the Ducks, there was one good thing about their otherwise rancid Game 6 on Sunday in Edmonton:
OK, two good things:
It didn’t clear customs.
“It doesn’t matter how big you win,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said Wednesday in advance of Game 7 back here. “The (next) game starts 0-0. You don’t get a lead if you blow a team out.”
That’s correct. Thankfully for the Ducks, this is hockey and not mathematics. In hockey, you never carry the remainder.
So they were permitted to resume their second-round series against the Oilers on equal footing, despite finishing Game 6 in a much different posture – on their fannies, smoked like a salmon.
“It doesn’t take rocket science,” Coach Randy Carlyle said after his team’s morning skate, “to figure out we have to have a much better start.”
Figuring out that the Ducks need a much better finish doesn’t require an advanced degree in anything more sophisticated than common sense, either.
As you might have heard by now, the Ducks have been unsuccessful in recent Game 7s.
Yeah, unsuccessful, like the McDonald’s Arch Deluxe. Google it, young people.
Entering Wednesday, the Ducks had dropped Game 7 at Honda Center to end – with the thud of a cadaver – every postseason since 2013.
For a moment here, let’s ponder the stunning unlikeliness of this situation. What would be the odds of any team in any era at any level in any sport doing this four years in a row?
And, then, what would be the odds of that same team doing it again a fifth consecutive year?
The answer is there are no such odds because even the long-shot-loving people in Las Vegas would consider four or five straight Game 7 losses at home to be too ridiculous to ever actually occur.
Vegas loves selling the notion that anything is possible, true. But the most wild of imaginations can cavort only so far before being reeled in by reality.
“To be honest, that’s years ago,” said Kesler, a Duck for the Game 7 losses in ’15 and ’16. “It happened last year. It happened the year before. There’s nothing we can do about the past experience except to learn from it.”
In that case, some of these Ducks should have doctorates in how not to play these loser-take-none contests. When it comes to do or die, the only thing the Ducks do is die.
Still, just four players had been here for all the recent Game 7 defeats. That should be encouraging, right?
The problem is two of them are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the team’s two acknowledged leaders.
And, if we’ve learned anything about this team the past few weeks, it’s that the rest of the Ducks will follow Getzlaf’s lead, for better or worse.
Fittingly, during this sour stretch, the Ducks have faced a different Game 7 opponent each time. This means, of course, that they haven’t developed a nemesis but instead a storyline that correctly paints them as their own worst enemy.
The Ducks have no one to blame for this mess but themselves, this latest waltz with disaster made necessary because of that dreadful no-show in Game 6, a 7-1 drubbing.
“Your team can’t be second out of the blocks,” Carlyle said. “It’s like a sprint. If you’re a sprinter, you want to make sure you get a good start. That’s exactly the way we’ll approach it.”
Before this game, the Ducks franchise hadn’t won a Game 7 since 2006. Not to make this more painful than it already is or anything, but the Kings won three Game 7s in the 2014 postseason alone.
One of those came over the Ducks in a game that wasn’t even as close as the 6-2 warped final suggests.
Entering Wednesday, in fact, the Ducks had never led for as many as one of the 240 Game 7 minutes they’d played since 2013.
“Game 7 you want to do so much,” defenseman Cam Fowler said. “You want to help your team any way you can that sometimes you end up doing a little too much.”
And too much also isn’t enough, not when Game 7s pack so much emotion and so many opportunities to make colossal, season-crushing, reputation-ruining mistakes.
But, hey, there’s one more bit of good news for the Ducks as it relates to Game 6. Joining the excess goals in not carrying over is the momentum, a fact these two teams have proven repeatedly.
And not only in this series, which has had whiplash-inducing mood swings. In the opening round, the Oilers lost Game 4 to San Jose, 7-0, and still won the next two to take the series.
“If anybody can predict the momentum flows that have taken place in this series,” Carlyle said, “you’re a lot smarter than a lot of so-called hockey people.”
A lot smarter and a lot more fortunate, the so-called hockey people with the Ducks the ones haunted by these Game 7 ghosts.
Read more about Miller: Game 6 ends just in time for Ducks to tempt Game 7 fate This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Irvine Shredding Service
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