ANAHEIM – For the Ducks, there was one good thing about their otherwise rancid Game 6 on Sunday in Edmonton:
OK, two good things:
It didn’t clear customs.
“It doesn’t matter how big you win,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said Wednesday in advance of Game 7 back here. “The (next) game starts 0-0. You don’t get a lead if you blow a team out.”
That’s correct. Thankfully for the Ducks, this is hockey and not mathematics. In hockey, you never carry the remainder.
So they were permitted to resume their second-round series against the Oilers on equal footing, despite finishing Game 6 in a much different posture – on their fannies, smoked like a salmon.
“It doesn’t take rocket science,” Coach Randy Carlyle said after his team’s morning skate, “to figure out we have to have a much better start.”
Figuring out that the Ducks need a much better finish doesn’t require an advanced degree in anything more sophisticated than common sense, either.
As you might have heard by now, the Ducks have been unsuccessful in recent Game 7s.
Yeah, unsuccessful, like the McDonald’s Arch Deluxe. Google it, young people.
Entering Wednesday, the Ducks had dropped Game 7 at Honda Center to end – with the thud of a cadaver – every postseason since 2013.
For a moment here, let’s ponder the stunning unlikeliness of this situation. What would be the odds of any team in any era at any level in any sport doing this four years in a row?
And, then, what would be the odds of that same team doing it again a fifth consecutive year?
The answer is there are no such odds because even the long-shot-loving people in Las Vegas would consider four or five straight Game 7 losses at home to be too ridiculous to ever actually occur.
Vegas loves selling the notion that anything is possible, true. But the most wild of imaginations can cavort only so far before being reeled in by reality.
“To be honest, that’s years ago,” said Kesler, a Duck for the Game 7 losses in ’15 and ’16. “It happened last year. It happened the year before. There’s nothing we can do about the past experience except to learn from it.”
In that case, some of these Ducks should have doctorates in how not to play these loser-take-none contests. When it comes to do or die, the only thing the Ducks do is die.
Still, just four players had been here for all the recent Game 7 defeats. That should be encouraging, right?
The problem is two of them are Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the team’s two acknowledged leaders.
And, if we’ve learned anything about this team the past few weeks, it’s that the rest of the Ducks will follow Getzlaf’s lead, for better or worse.
Fittingly, during this sour stretch, the Ducks have faced a different Game 7 opponent each time. This means, of course, that they haven’t developed a nemesis but instead a storyline that correctly paints them as their own worst enemy.
The Ducks have no one to blame for this mess but themselves, this latest…