Even with Pittsburgh’s current slump, it seems as if the Penguins and Bruins are destined to meet again in these playoffs, this time with Iginla on the Boston side, and still seeking the first Stanley Cup of his career – which is why he left Calgary for Pittsburgh as year ago, thinking that might give him his best chance to do so. It would be a fascinating drama to see how a renewal of that rivalry plays out this year – and who ends up holding the upper hand.
WHAT’S UP DUCKS? – Anaheim managed its 2-1 win over the Kings without Teemu Selanne in the lineup. Boudreau is sticking with his plan of not playing Selanne in back-to-back games. However, he tried something new on Friday versus Colorado, shifting Selanne to the left side on a line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. With this move, he's hoping to solve two problems: one, filling that spot, which is up for grabs in the aftermath of the Dustin Penner's trade to the Washington Capitals; and two, keeping Selanne happy with more ice time, since that has been a point of contention with him.
Selanne is averaging just 13:56 per game by far the lowest of his career. During his knee problems a decade ago, he dropped down into the 16s and even last year, during a more limited role, Selanne played about 15:42.
He believes he needs to play more to be effective and cited as proof the Olympics, in which he played on a top line for Finland and had a productive tournament.
Playing out of position is something Selanne can likely live with if it means playing with Getzlaf and Perry, although it remains to be seen if any chemistry develops on the unit, or even how long Boudreau will keep it together. It’s an interesting week for the Ducks. Washington comes in, with Penner in the lineup on Tuesday, and that of course is Boudreau’s old team, the one that fired him back in 2011 and has been in a downward spiral ever since.
Meanwhile, Getzlaf indicated that first place is a goal. The Ducks and Sharks will probably go down to the wire and historically, first place, while it gives you home-ice advantage, doesn’t guarantee a team anything. Chicago won last year with home-ice all the way through the playoffs; and Los Angeles won the year before starting every series on the road.
“In order for us to hit the playoffs in our stride, we’d like to be in first,” said Getzlaf. “I think that means we’ve earned it all season long and we don’t want to let that slip away at the end of the year here. It’s a goal of ours for sure. Is it the end of the world if we don’t? No. It means we get home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and that’s what we’re looking for.”
The Ducks defeated the Kings, despite Cam Fowler’s absence. Fowler has been their No. 1 defenceman all year, averaging a team high 23:54 of time. Only Francois Beauchemin is close. The Ducks will likely welcome Stephane Robidas, acquired from the Dallas Stars, at the trading deadline into their lineup, perhaps as early as Tuesday and he will be expected to play a shutdown role for them, once he gets his game conditioning back. Robidas hasn’t played since breaking his leg back in November.
“It’s a great turnaround for us after a rough patch there where we weren’t very good,” said Getzlaf, following Saturday’s win. “Some of those games, we played hard, but we played just well enough to lose. Then we played a few where we didn’t deserve to win. Obviously, Calgary was the low point for us. Our guys dug deep here - and played two good hockey games against two great teams.”