Hockey

Anaheim Ducks closing in on Los Angeles Kings

Anaheim Ducks closing in on Los Angeles Kings

anaheim ducks closing in on los angeles kings 2016 images

The Anaheim Ducks continue to play well in 2016 while the Los Angeles Kings continue to flirt with mediocrity. What’s resulted is a race in the Pacific Division between the three California-based teams as the San Jose Sharks are in the thick of things as well.

Heading into Sunday’s action Los Angeles holds a 7-point lead over second-placed Anaheim. L.A., San Jose, and Anaheim have each played 53-54 games in their schedules, so there are not any significant games at hand to consider. Of the three teams, it is Anaheim that has been the hottest of late.

The Ducks were once a pitiful scoring club, a team that struggled to score more than two goals in a game. Back in December, the Ducks were heavily reliant on exceptional goaltending for victories. Now heading down the stretch of the regular season, Anaheim remain in the shadows of their poor start. They are currently a .500 team at 27-27 (i.e. 27-19-8), and they have a -5 goal differential on the entire season.

If the Ducks are going to make a push for the divisional crown, then I see the next three games as pivotal. They are in the midst of a lengthy road trip, one that has seen them go 2-1-1 thus far. With games against the Western Canadian clubs upcoming, Anaheim has to be hoping for five points out of six, especially since Saturday night saw them beat Chicago in the Windy City.

The Ducks, although they have generally played their best hockey of late, did lose a 4-3 shootout decision in Columbus recently. Coach Bruce Boudreau claimed that his team didn’t “respect” the Blue Jackets enough, noting that even the weakest teams in the NHL still require attention from the get-go:

“I didn’t think we respected that team enough to start the game,” Boudreau claimed. “This is the NHL. You can’t come into a game and not respect your opponent. We didn’t respect them enough. We were lucky Freddie was on top of his game in the first period, or it would’ve been 3-1 for them. We were lucky to get a point, but we’ll bounce back.”

Even if Anaheim do not make a push for the Pacific Division title, the Ducks are starting to look good as a Western Conference playoff entrant. The Vancouver Canucks have been mediocre, the Arizona Wildcats are in a freefall, and both Alberta-based teams are buried deep. The NHL playoffs are noted for their parity – the low-seeded teams do damage more than just occasionally. If the Ducks get into the post-season playing well, then they will nearly be as good as anyone.

The 3-2 victory over Chicago may be very telling of how well Anaheim is playing now. The Blackhawks remain in contention in the Central Division, but they have cooled off a little bit compared to earlier this calendar year. For those that are looking to follow the Ducks, their next game is on the 15th from Calgary. If you are following the Pacific Division race, Los Angeles will be in action on Sunday at New Jersey.

Click to add a comment
Hockey
@DFSremora

Shane Mclendon is our go to guy for everything NFL and UFC related. He covers pro and college football with as much zeal as his love for UFC. With Shane, we've got you covered...He call himself an NFL nut that enjoys UFC action and a daily fantasy sports expert....at losing.

More in Hockey

Trigger happy Florida Panthers sack Gerard Gallant 2016 images

Trigger-happy Florida Panthers sack Gerard Gallant

Shane LambertNovember 28, 2016
5 NHL Predictions for NHL   Canadiens, Rangers, Capitals 2016 images

5 NHL Predictions for NHL – Canadiens, Rangers, Capitals

Shane LambertNovember 26, 2016
wayne gretzky taking on the simpsons 2016 images

Wayne Gretzky taking on ‘The Simpsons’

Shane LambertNovember 18, 2016
New York Rangers on top of the NHL's Super 16 2016 images

New York Rangers on top of the NHL’s Super 16

Shane LambertNovember 17, 2016
Todd McLellan Doing an Excellent Job With the Edmonton Oilers 2016 images

Todd McLellan Doing an Excellent Job With the Edmonton Oilers

Shane LambertNovember 7, 2016
Carey Price's Montreal Canadiens top the NHL's Super 16 2016 images

Carey Price’s Montreal Canadiens top the NHL’s Super 16

Shane LambertNovember 3, 2016
NHL's Super 16   Tampa Bay tops, Edmonton insulted 2016 images

NHL’s Super 16 – Tampa Bay tops, Edmonton insulted

Shane LambertOctober 27, 2016
Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers tops in NHL Power Rankings 2016 images

Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers tops in NHL Power Rankings

Shane LambertOctober 24, 2016
NHL Power Rankings   Chicago Blackhawks Mediocre at best 2016 images

NHL Power Rankings – Chicago Blackhawks Mediocre at best

Shane LambertOctober 23, 2016

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription