EDMONTON — The cast of players is revolving. The wholesale jerseys opponents are different. Even the coach behind the Anaheim Ducks bench has changed.
But one thing remains surprisingly consistent. The specter of Game 6 hangs over the Ducks like a dark, forbidding cloud. On Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Ducks 7-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place. It is the first time in history the Ducks have allowed seven goals in a playoff game.
“They had three chances to score and they scored on their first three,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We weren’t able to recover.”
While their Game 7 shortcomings are at the forefront — they’ve been knocked out of the past four Stanley Cup Playoffs in a Game 7 at home — their stumbles in Game 6 have been costly.
The Game 6 examples are numerous:
They could have won against the Detroit Red Wings in 2013, the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 and the Nashville Predators in 2016. These were all chances to advance to the next round in Game 6 and all went by the wayside. Then the Ducks were eliminated in Game 7 each time.
“I look at it [like this]. It’s not the same group,” Carlyle said. “And I wasn’t here, so don’t pin any of the Game 7s on me. It’s as simple as that. This is a different group.”
He drew laughter in the news conference with his comment about not being around for those losses. The Ducks coach for those Game 7 defeats was Bruce Boudreau, who is the Minnesota Wild coach. Boudreau replaced Carlyle in Anaheim in 2011 and Carlyle replaced Boudreau and returned to the Ducks this past season.
The players downplayed the meaning of the past Game 6 losses having any impact on the current situation.
“You know what? I just don’t care,” forward Andrew Cogliano jersey said. “Sorry, I just don’t care. I think we’ve played hard this series. We’ve been in this series right from the beginning. I think it’s going to come down to one game.
“Tonight they outclassed us, outplayed us, they [wanted cheap nhl jerseys] it [more]. Until we do it, there’s going to be a lot of talking. So we need to just go and play.”
Said captain Ryan Getzlaf jersey: “Half the guys in here haven’t been through that stuff.”
The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3 with Game 7 at Anaheim on Wednesday.
So how do the Ducks put themselves back together?
“I think it is good we have two days,” Cogliano said. “We can regroup cheap jerseys china. There’s a few guys that need to do soul-searching, including myself.
“We’ve had a lot of guys step up and play good hockey here and have led the way. I think we need some guys to start raising their level of game to help those guys out. Until we do that, you’re going to have games like this. We need to collectively bring our game and not the same guys over again.
Goaltender John Gibson jersey was already engaging in a bit of soul-searching. He was pulled at 8:25 of the first period after giving up three goals on six shots. Jonathan Bernier jersey made 25 saves in relief and allowed four goals.
“I’ve got to come up with a couple of saves,” Gibson said. “… It’s my job. Obviously I wasn’t good enough as I wanted to be and I just kind of let them down.”
The Ducks have yet to find an answer for Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl jersey, who had three goals and two assists in Game 6.
They haven’t been able to do so during the regular season (six goals, two assists) or in the second round (five goals, eight assists).
“We’ve got to stay out of the [penalty] box,” defenseman Cam Fowler jersey said. “[Draisaitl’s] been getting a lot of points on the power play. They’re pretty dynamic. Discipline would be No. 1. He’s a great player. He’s going to find ways to impact hockey games, so we have to limit that as much as we can.
“Credit to him. He was ready and a force right from the start.”