Anaheim Ducks use last years loss as tonight’s Game 7 motivation
By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)
The Anaheim Ducks don’t have a record in their Game 7 past to give them the confidence their Los Angeles opponent is feeding off of. Instead, Bruce Boudreau and his team have a chip on their shoulders and a message they wear on their chests because of failed attempts. Something they will look to turn around tonight when they host the battle of Southern California, with one team guaranteed a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
After dropping Game 7 last season in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Ducks began wearing team shirts that read, “Unfinished Business”, a mantra they will take into Friday’s elimination game against the Los Angeles Kings.
“I think last year guys were nervous,” Ducks’ forward Andrew Cogliano said according to NHL.com. “I can speak for myself; it was my first Game 7, and it’s tough to know what to expect your first time.”
Tonight will have to be different when it comes to nerves, as the Ducks goalie likely to get the start is 20-year-old John Gibson who has played a combined six games in the NHL, posting a 3-0 regular season record and a 2-1 postseason mark. Nothing like getting your feet wet early when it comes to NHL Playoff pressure.
As for the rest of the Ducks’ crew that has been a part of a Game 7 contest, they might be bringing in experience but it hasn’t all been positive. Only Anaheim’s Saku Koivu has a winning record when it comes to Game 7s, registering three points (tied with Teemu Selanne for most Game 7 points on the current Ducks roster) and a 2-1 record.
The higher-seeded Ducks are 2-3 all-time in Game 7s, while coach Boudreau is one-for-four in his attempts. Still, the head coach is looking for the positives in his lopsided record as he goes for win No.2.
“I am due,” Boudreau said. “ I think i’m 1-4 right now. So I’m due because we lost four at home.”
Also due tonight is Ducks’ forward Corey Perry who will need to contribute more than just the one goal he has so far in his teams series against the Kings. In 12 games this playoffs, Perry has three goals and seven assists, including the three points he has racked up in the semifinals.
Whatever it is that the Ducks are going to use to motivate them tonight in what could be their season finale, they will have to find a way to use their home crowd as an advantage unlike both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins who saw their own seasons end in Game 7s while both team was skating on home ice.
The Ducks have been given the chance to right what went wrong for them last postseason against Detroit, it’s up to them to make it happen. After all, this is their unfinished business.
Quote of the series:
“ It’s all about just executing…We can’t be afraid to lose. We have to play hard. It’s all about poise, calming yourself down and play the game. It’s do or die.”- Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks captain.