Anaheim Ducks: flying to victory


Photo by Shawn Medow

Center Ryan Kesler faces off against the Blackhawks’ Brad Richards in the regular season.

When the months of April and May roll around, hockey fans are glued to their television screens as they watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s famed trophy is the dream of every player and spectator, intensifying the atmosphere of the playoffs as compared to regular season games.

“I love how intense the games are and how interesting it is to see who steps up,” Los Angeles Kings fan and senior Collin Harms said.

The 2015 playoffs do not feature the defending champion, the Kings, who failed to reach the postseason with two games left. However, the Anaheim Ducks qualified as the first place team in the Western Conference and swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs. The Ducks’ advancement to the Western Conference semifinals set up a meeting with Ducks ex-goaltender Jonas Hiller and the Calgary Flames. Hiller only played in game one after the Ducks demolished the Flames 6-1 and later won the series in five games.

“I have never seen the Ducks have this much physical presence,” varsity hockey player, Ducks fan and freshman Joshua Alexander said. “[The physicality] is what led to the sweep.”

The Ducks’ offense looks unstoppable with captain Ryan Getzlaf and forwards Corey Perry and first-year Duck Ryan Kesler leading the team. Even though Perry is one of the top point contributors to these playoffs, other players like Matt Beleskey, who scored one goal in every game against the Flames, and Patrick Maroon are impactful every game as they rack up multiple goals and assists.

Additionally, defenders Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler have been vital in keeping shots away from goaltender Frederik Andersen, who also has been phenomenal in goal.

“The first line is just as useful as the fourth line,” Alexander said. “Everyone on the team contributes to the scoring.”

The Ducks’ domination of the Jets and Flames are true examples of a team effort.

“The Ducks are one of the best teams in the league and have the depth in their squad to get them to the Stanley Cup final,” Montreal Canadiens fan and senior Krystan Martin said.

The Ducks advance to the Western Conference Final to play the Chicago Blackhawks, who have won two Stanley Cups in the last five seasons. The last time the Ducks appeared in the Stanley Cup Final was in 2007, when they beat the Ottawa Senators four games to one to lift the cup for the first time in franchise history. However, there is a lot of hockey to be played before the players and fans start dreaming of the cup’s return to Anaheim.