Happy Mother’s Day ... and happy hockey day here in Southern California. The Ducks will face the Red Wings at Honda Center on Sunday night in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series, with the Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks awaiting the outcome to determine whom they will face in the Western Conference semifinals.
If the second-seeded Ducks win, they’ll face the No. 5 Kings and the No. 1 Blackhawks will play the No. 6 Sharks. If the No. 7 Red Wings pull off the upset, they will face the Blackhawks and the Kings will play the Sharks.
Playing a seventh game is a huge moment, one you’d expect hockey players to remember for a long time, especially for the team that wins. But during a brief chat I had with Jim Pappin, the former Blackhawk who is now a scout for the Ducks, he said he remembered losing a Game 7 in 1971 better than winning one, as he did in 1964 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That sounded odd to me, but it made sense to members of the Ducks when I asked them about it after their morning skate Sunday.
“You win and go on, you play more games. But if you lose, that’s it. Season is over and you go over it the entire summer,” said defenseman Luca Sbisa, who scored the winner in a decisive seventh playoff game while playing for Lethbridge of the junior-level Western Hockey League against Saskatoon.
So Sbisa is hoping the Ducks don’t remember much about this game later, other than it launched them to greater heights.
“We’re not thinking about losing. We have a lot of confidence,” he said. “We just know we’re going to come back to the dressing room as a happy group. … We’re a big strong team and we’ve prepared ourselves all season for nights like this. So we’re definitely ready to go.”
Goaltender Jonas Hiller also said he understood why Pappin would recall a Game 7 loss more clearly than a Game 7 win.
“If you win there’s something afterward. If you lose, there’s nothing afterward,” said Hiller, who made 36 saves in the Ducks’ first-round Game 7 playoff loss to Detroit in 2009.
“You always remember how your season ends. But if you go on, there are other memories after it. I definitely hope there are going to be other hockey memories after this game tonight.”
Ducks winger Teemu Selanne was struck in the face during the morning skate and appeared dazed for several minutes.
However, a club spokesman said Selanne was fine and was expected to play Sunday night.
Check back later for more coverage.
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