The Anaheim Ducks are in an advantageous position as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday night, but if anyone knows how difficult it is to finish off a series, it’s this team.
After all, the Ducks have gone up 3-2 thanks to home wins in Game 5 in each of the past two postseasons, but they’ve seen their opportunity to advance slip away in both instances. In 2013, the Ducks grabbed a 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of their first round series, but they dropped the final two games and were eliminated on home ice at the Honda Center.
In 2014 against the Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks ended up with a 3-2 lead after a tightly contested 4-3 victory in Game 5, but they once again couldn’t finish the job. They lost by one goal at the Staples Center in the next game of the series, and in Game 7 they were blown out on home ice as they fell 6-2 and watched the Kings advance to the conference final.
This time, the Ducks have made it to the conference final themselves, but they are going to be in for a tough test in finishing off the Blackhawks. In elimination games under head coach Joel Quenneville, the Hawks are 9-4 when their season is on the line, and they have won five of the last six games in which they faced elimination.
That history is going to be tough to overcome, but the Ducks also have another bit of history that they’re trying to make as well. The Ducks are now the first team since 1979 to go through their first 14 games of the postseason without a regulation loss, joining the New York Rangers in that category. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they did not win the Stanley Cup that season, so the Ducks are going to be looking to reverse that trend as well.