Instead of passively hoping for better results, they seized control of their fate by holding a players-only meeting and putting effort behind their words. Their 2-1 victory over New Jersey on Sunday had more nervous moments than it should have, including the
"I think everybody in this locker room elevated their game after the Columbus loss, after those back-to-back losses to the Rangers and Columbus," defenseman
It was the Ducks' third straight victory — all by one goal — and it set franchise records for road wins in a season (24) and road points (52). They retained the
"It's always good to sit down and talk as a group and understand what needs to be done," said defenseman
"You can't look at the end of the season when you know you're going to be in the playoffs and be like, 'We can glide right in and turn a light switch on and play playoff hockey.'"
They've fixed the defensive end of the game and have allowed five goals in the last three games, two on opponents' power plays. Best of all, Gibson and
"It's a good problem to have," Kesler said. "We feel comfortable and confident with both guys in net. Gibby's probably one of the main reasons we won the game tonight, and he's been playing really well for us."
Andersen prevailed at Boston and Long Island, so for the team's third game in four days, Coach
Gibson turned away a formidable number of quality scoring chances before
Gibson just made Boudreau's decision tougher.
"Why do they do this?" Boudreau said in mock despair, of his goalies. "Well, I'm glad he does it. It proves that both goalies, quite frankly, they play better when the other one's playing better, if you've noticed. They both want it."
With Kesler's goal supporting him, Gibson protected the lead early in the second period by stopping
Beauchemin got the goal, his career-best 10th goal, though Kesler displayed a welt on his arm where he said the puck had hit him. "Apparently the bruise isn't enough to get credit for it," Kesler said. "I told Beauch he needs it more than me."
Kesler could afford to laugh after a trip that started so badly ended with the Ducks on the right track in preparing for the playoffs. "You want to be playing your best hockey," Kesler said. "Every game, something pops up. You want to work on something. You can never play a perfect game. But I thought the last three games we definitely played well."