The Ducks have been here before.
They stared down the barrel of a 2-0 series deficit after consecutive defeats to the Edmonton Oilers last season. Those second-round losses also came at home, and they set out on the road with a formidable task ahead. Slowly but surely, the victories came, and the Ducks returned to Anaheim with the series tied.
The Ducks went on to top the Oilers in seven games and advance to the Western Conference finals. They hope to replicate that success beginning Monday with Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks.
Once again, they set out on the road down 2-0, but they’re confident, comfortable even. After all, once you’ve accomplished something, you know you’re capable of doing it again.
“All year here, people have been counting us out a long time, so we’ve been stepping it up when we need it the most,” said Hampus Lindholm, who scored a goal in the Ducks’ 3-2 loss Saturday in Game 2. “I believe in this group here.”
The Ducks scored six goals in Game 3 against the Oilers last season and turned the series around. They showed that same resolve this season as they battled through a rash of injuries to key players.
It was uncertain for most of the final two weeks if the Ducks would even reach the postseason. They capped the season with a five-game winning streak to not only clinch a berth, but home ice in the first round.
Of course, that advantage is now gone after the Sharks grabbed victories in both games at Honda Center. It’s up to the Ducks to earn at least one victory in San Jose if they hope to extend the series.
“We need to come into their building and keep doing the good things we’ve been doing and try to clean up the stuff we haven’t been doing so good.”
Coach Randy Carlyle believes his team needs to simplify its game, especially in the neutral zone. He wants the Ducks to simply push the puck into the Sharks’ zone, and once they’re there, he’s confident they can score goals.
That task is much more difficult without top defenseman Cam Fowler, who won’t make the trip to San Jose as he continues to recover from a left shoulder injury he suffered on April 1.
The Ducks are confident after their performance Saturday, even if they came up just short. They were constantly around the net, and sooner or later, they figure the goals will come after just two in the first two games.
“They do a good job of covering their net, they play good team defense; they always have,” said Andrew Cogliano. “It seems like we’re getting there probably more than usual, but at the end of the day, you gotta put the puck in.
“There’s no quit, we’ve been in these situations before. You have to fight at this point. You have to find a way to win in their building and make a difference. It’s not ideal by any means to be down 2-0, but you have to find a way to do something in their building and get a win and continue the series.”