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It’s the morning of February 15, 2018 and the Anaheim Ducks are hosting the Ottawa Senators in their second game of the season.
They’re 0-3-0 since losing three straight games in March, but the Ducks have come back and dominated their last two games to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.
That’s the first of four straight games for the Ducks that will be decided by two goals or fewer.
“The way they’ve been playing, I don’t think they’re ready for it yet,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“I think they’ve got to play better.
It’s just a matter of us getting some consistency and that’s what they’re doing.”
The Ducks are coming off a 4:00 a.m.
ET practice and they’re in a groove.
They have been on a roll this week with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators and a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Anaheim has won three of four since the Predators started the month by winning seven straight.
“We’re definitely playing better,” defenseman Sami Vatanen said.
Ducks forward Jake Gardiner said the team was trying to be “aggressive” and “stick together” during practice and the game.
“If you’re not playing that way you’re going to lose games,” Gardiner told the team.
Forwards Ryan Getzlaf (3), Corey Perry (2) and Ryan Kesler (1) are all playing well. “
It’s going to be tough for them and we’re not trying to do it against them.”
Forwards Ryan Getzlaf (3), Corey Perry (2) and Ryan Kesler (1) are all playing well.
Perry has been the most consistent, but Getzlaff is playing a big part of the team’s success.
He’s scored at least three goals in each of his last five games, including three goals on Thursday night.
The Ducks scored five goals on their first five shots against Nashville on Friday, and they tied it up in the third.
“That was the one that we knew we were going to have to play,” Kesler said.
The teams have played nine times this season and they are tied for the most losses in NHL history at nine.
The two teams have met six times, with Anaheim winning two of those games.
Kesler has scored seven goals on 17 shots against Anaheim this season.
Perry is tied for second in scoring with 22 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 31 games.
“For a guy who’s had a pretty rough month of it, he was just getting his confidence back,” Ducks goalie Cam Ward said.
“(Thursday) night was just his biggest game of his career.
He came in and was so calm.
He did a really good job.”
The game started slow, but Anaheim scored first.
Ryan Keslin got a breakaway goal from Brayden Point, and it was Keslin’s second goal of the game with 9:46 left in the first period.
The goal gave the Ducks a 2:06 lead.
Keslin was one of five Ducks to score on the power play, and he was one-for-three on the man advantage.
The second period ended with the Ducks up 4-3 on a power play goal by Perry.
The third period was one that had Anaheim leading 4-2, and the Ducks were getting their third power play.
Kesel scored the goal on a shot by Ryan Keslowski that went into the back of the net.
The fourth period was the Ducks’ most important of the night.
Keslouz got a good pass from Keslin and beat Ward.
Keselin then found Kesler on a short breakaway, and Keslin found him again.
Keslen scored his fifth goal of his season with 1:28 left in regulation.
“You want to keep pushing,” Keslick said.
It was the fourth time Kesler had scored two or more goals in a game since scoring a hat trick against the Minnesota Wild on March 13, 2017.
The first time was against the Anaheim IceDogs on March 22, 2017 and the second was against Columbus on March 12, 2017 when Keslin had four goals in three games.
He had five goals in his previous five games.
The Anaheim players talked about the team taking some time off.
“They’re going into this game with a lot of confidence,” Ryan Kesel said.
They played well all night, and that was one thing that we talked about all week, getting a little bit of confidence.
“Everybody is focused on this one,” Perry said.
Anaheim was up 3-0 with 5:18 remaining in the second period.
They took a 3:18 lead into intermission.
The crowd of 8,000 at the Moda Center went wild as Keslicken put the Ducks ahead 6-3 with 1.5 minutes to play. The