Bruce Boudreau's message to Ducks after OT win vs. Hurricanes: 'Never give up'
Welcome to the wonderful world of Anaheim Ducks hockey, where games are rarely decided by anything less than theatrics.
Case in point: Tuesday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Ducks faced two 5-on-3s against and gave up a penalty shot. But they still won 5-4, and in dramatic fashion, of course, by scoring twice in the third period and again 45 seconds into overtime with a goal by captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Is your head spinning yet? Well if it is, this might be the right hockey town for you. Because the unconventional is conventional in Anaheim.
The key to the Ducks' late-game comebacks is not just their ability to find another gear in the third period, but their drive and determination. The Ducks are now 12-6 and won their league-leading 23rd one-goal game and it's simply because of one message .
"Never give up," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "That's something that, I think, in third periods, we haven't done at all this year. I don't think its in our character to do that."
The win snaps a two-game losing streak, which is the closest the Ducks have come to anything resembling a slump all season. Anaheim has yet to lose three-straight games this season and as they head out to face Nashville, the team that shares their league lead (72 points), they weren't about to hit that number for the first time.
"That's the difference between good teams and mediocre teams," Getzlaf said. "When we lose two we try not to let it get to that third one. Most times, we've been able to stop it at two but it's been two good teams the last couple and tonight we were able to put an end to that and get a win before going out on the road."
A wild second period was followed by an even wilder start to the third, as the Ducks were hit with a double-minor right off the faceoff. They killed it off to stay tied at 2-2 but the momentum failed to swing on the side of Anaheim.
Instead, Cam Fowler and the Ducks were punished by his breakaway-saving defense on Brad Malone when the officials awarded Malone a penalty shot. He connected and Carolina went up 3-2, and then very quickly it was 4-2 when Jordan Staal batted a rebound in midair and into the back of the net.
But then again, that's the thing about momentum shifts. They can swing you right back to where you started.
Devante Smith-Pelly redirected a Jakob Silfverberg slapshot from the point just past the halfway mark. And then the Ducks killed off yet another 5-on-3 that turned into a 4-on-3. Finally, Corey Perry buried a rebound with just over four minutes left and the score was tied once again.
"We found a way. It was never pretty, but we'll take it," Perry said. "It was about going to the net because pucks were just lying there. Sami (Vatanen) made a play to come down the middle and get a shot off. The puck came right back to me and I just tried to get it on net. When you're in that situation, you have to shoot the puck."
"Never give up. It's something, in the third periods, we haven't done this year. It isn't in our character." - BB https://t.co/qIPqEbMSAo— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 4, 2015
Credit the penalty kill unit - especially defensemen Francois Beachemin, Hampus Lindholm and Vatanen - killing off the 5-on-3s was a game-changer.
"If you usually kill them off, it's funny how it works because you usually end up winning the game," Boudreau said. "They had their opportunities to bury us, but when a team doesn't put another team away, bad things usually happen."
The attention now turns to Thursday night when the two best teams in hockey face off. Expect the unexpected and expect a 60-minute battle.
"It wasn't our best game," Getzlaf said. "But throughout the year you're going to have a little bit of a lull out of our group. The fact that we found a way to win the hockey game is a good thing. Maybe it's a wakeup call before we go on the road."