Every team wants to believe it has a no-quit attitude, but on a flat Monday, trailing by four goals, getting outshot, 25-6, the Ducks had reason to believe their night was kaput.
“Miracles happen in this league,” said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau.
The “miracle” was the Ducks' greatest comeback win in team history, beating the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4, when Corey Perry scored with 22.7 seconds remaining in regulation and defenseman Stephane Robidas blasted in the winner 16 seconds into overtime.
The win gives the Ducks (49-18-8) their most regular-season victories in team history with seven games remaining, and moved them three points ahead of second-place San Jose in the Pacific Division, one point behind Western Conference-leading St. Louis.
“A character win that we were able to come back,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said after scoring a power-play goal 3:06 into the third period and feeding Perry on his somersaulting tying goal. “The first two periods were some of the worst we've played all year.
“Our guys stuck with it; those are two big points for us.”
In overtime, Getzlaf said it was a matter of “catching our breath. You want to ride the wave … .”
The Ducks noticed that Winnipeg (33-33-10) had three forwards on the ice in the four-on-four overtime and Robidas didn't waste time, seeing bodies in front of Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec and blasting.
“There was a lot of traffic in front, let it go and it went in,” Robidas said of his first goal as a Duck after being acquired March 4 before the NHL trade deadline.
“Obviously, you have momentum at that point, being down, 4-0, and now it's 4-4. The pressure was on them.”
The turnaround was shocking.
Winnipeg outshot the Ducks, 31-13, through two periods, the Ducks salvaging an apparent morsel of pride when center Nick Bonino scored his 20th goal with 2:16 left in the second.
“We were so vastly outplayed, but when Bonino scored and [goalie Frederik Andersen] made the big save 20 seconds later … you never know,” Boudreau said.
Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm followed Getzlaf's goal 1:10 later by rebounding a Daniel Winnik shot with 15:44 remaining in the third.
In the desperate final minute, with Andersen pulled from the net, Perry said he barked for a pass from longtime linemate Getzlaf and wouldn't be denied despite the hit by Bryan Little that sent him tumbling on his 39th goal.
“If I'm not doing that, I'm not playing my game, and I'm not going to score,” Perry said. “Being down, 4-0, tough to overcome, but we said, ‘If we keep pushing, no team can play with us.' That's how we have to keep playing.”
Winnipeg's lead grew to 4-0 when forward Eric Tangradi accepted a cross-ice pass from defenseman Zach Redmond and scored with more than nine minutes remaining in the second.
The Ducks were puzzled why officials missed Blake Wheeler holding Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen's stick just before the Tangradi goal.
Even so, the Ducks hadn't proven their effectiveness with stick in hand, trailing, 25-6, in shots at that point.
“You can't take anybody lightly,” Boudreau said. “You have to come to play every night. If you don't, you're in trouble.”
Twitter: @latimespugmireCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times