Well, the first and most important thing we learned from Wednesday's rout of a woeful Edmonton team is that the victory gave the Ducks their third consecutive Pacific Division title. It also gave them consecutive 50-win seasons for the first time in franchise history and home-ice advantage through the first rounds of the playoffs.
Playoffs? We're talking about the playoffs?
Yes, we are. Because we learned some other things Wednesday that relate to the NHL postseason, which begins in less than two weeks:
1. The Ducks have learned their lessons from bowing out early the last two years: The Ducks haven't reached the Western Conference finals since 2007, when they went on to win the Stanley Cup. So the players are setting their sights there -- and beyond. As a result, Wednesday's win meant little.
"It's just one part of the puzzle," said Andrew Cogliano, who scored the final goal on a third-period penalty shot. "Until we reach our goal I don't think anyone will be satisfied."
2. This may be the best Ducks team ever, one built for a long playoff run: This team won't catch last year's for wins and points, but it may be better because it is extremely balanced. Take Wednesday's win, in which the Ducks got goals from five different players. They are fourth in the league in scoring and have four players with 20 or more goals and nine with 20 or more assists. Plus they have two excellent goaltenders in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. There's a reason the Ducks have the best record in the league.
3. The Ducks won't take the rest of the regular season off: The final three regular-season games won't be a vacation for Bruce Boudreau's team. The coach has convinced his team that letting up now means letting up for the postseason. So the Ducks will continue to play with the urgency and passion that have helped them win four straight and eight of their last 10. "We just want to be playing the right way, with good habits and playoff-style hockey" said Nate Thompson, who scored the second goal Wednesday. "Going into the playoffs you can't just turn a switch on. You have to make sure you're playing the right way, with some momentum, heading into the playoffs. Teams that try to switch it on are sometimes done in the first round."
Added Boudreau of the challenge ahead: "That's got to be such a priority of hard work and everything else. Another two months of potential hard work. The core has seen that and they know what they have to go through. And they've been building up to it all season long. It's not going to be easy to do."