The Anaheim Ducks failed so miserably to close out their series against the Edmonton Oilers that no one on the roster evaded responsibility for the 7-1 loss Sunday in Game 6.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that our goaltending was where it needed to be but our other side of our game wasn’t where it needed to be,” said coach Randy Carlyle, who has, with the Game 6 loss, inherited some ghosts of the past four playoff seasons.
Carlyle offered that only “everything” went wrong Sunday as his club was thumped 5-0 in the first period alone. Captain Ryan Getzlaf said things began going wrong at “Puck drop…It’s as simple as that.” Andrew Cogliano, whose very rare fight with Drake Caggiula exemplified Anaheim’s frustration, was equally blunt: “It could have been 20-1, really.” And John Gibson, whose goaltending was downright awful in surrendering three goals on six shots, confessed, “I wasn’t very good.”
The Ducks are in danger of losing a playoff series for the fifth consecutive season after leading 3-2 and being in position to eliminate an opponent but failing to do so, then coming home to Honda Center and losing Game 7 too.
This string of failures got Bruce Boudreau fired, and put the onus directly on the team’s high-priced stars, in particular and most importantly, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
What’s different this season is that each of them has had a good playoff season. Getzlaf, consistently so; Perry with timely performances and overtime goals.
The fact that the two have led the Ducks to big wins is the one thing that may be different this season in overcoming the Game 7 hurdle.
Getzlaf can give himself a huge gift for his 32nd birthday Wednesday in what will be a career-defining game. His Game 4 performance (2 goals, 2 assists) is the stuff of immediate legend. Hard to believe he will have to upstage that one so soon, but it comes with the job description.
Carlyle distanced himself from the recent past.
“It’s not the same group. I wasn’t here, so don’t pin any of the Game 7’s on me.”
The Ducks have been behind the eight-ball repeatedly in this series, and it’s entirely due to the Oilers.
The Ducks have managed adversity well throughout the first two rounds. Now the club’s stars have an opportunity to slay some ghosts.
PHOTO OF COREY PERRY: GETTY IMAGES