Bob Murray is left to wonder what could have been?
What if the Ducks’ general manager made the decision earlier to fire Randy Carlyle and assume coaching duties himself? Just maybe, the Ducks would be in playoff position with six games remaining in the season. With Murray behind the bench, the Ducks’ long-stagnant offense has come alive, and the attack was again on display Friday at Honda Center against a postseason-bound squad.
The Ducks topped the division-rival San Jose Sharks 4-3, with a Jakob Silfverberg wrist-shot over Aaron Dell’s right shoulder just 38 seconds into the extra period. The victory was the Ducks’ seventh in their last 11 games, and pushed the Sharks’ losing streak to five.
Silfverberg collected a backhanded pass from Rickard Rakell off the rush, then the winger slid over to the right, pulling the Sharks goalie along with him, before firing the puck into the space Dell just vacated. The overtime goal ensured three-point nights for both Swedes in the Ducks’ fourth four-goal game in the 11-game span.
Rakell’s two-goal performance was a rare bright spot in a disappointing campaign for the team’s lone All-Star from a season ago, when he led the Ducks with 34 goals.
“He’s been having chances throughout the whole year but especially of late too,” said Silfverberg, who scored his 23rd goal of the season. “Maybe he hasn’t been getting the bounces so it’s good seeing him get two big goals tonight and it was two nice shots, too. Wasn’t just a lucky bounce here or there. You can tell he — and the rest of the team — is starting to get the confidence in these last few games here.”
Too little, too late for any realistic shot at the playoffs — the Ducks sit eight points out with 12 more standings points up for grabs — but they can take solace in the foundation they’re building (and the example they’re setting for the young players) heading into the summer.
Rakell opened the game’s scoring with a snap-shot that whipped past Dell with Adam Henrique providing the screen almost eight minutes into the contest. He made it 13 on the season with a power-play goal late in the third that gave the Ducks another lead they squandered.
Kesler, Eaves updates
Murray told reporters that Ryan Kesler would meet with doctors Friday night to evaluate a career-threatening hip injury.
“Kes has to get everything in his life in order as to what he has to do in order to play,” Murray said. “It’s not exactly good for his body, the things he puts himself through. We need to take full inventory of where he is in his life and go forward from there. The agent and I have talked a bunch.”
Murray cast doubt that Kesler, 34, would play again this season, and Murray did not have encouraging news about Patrick Eaves when he said the 34-year-old suffered an unknown setback. Eaves played just two games last season because of post-viral syndrome.
“There is no new diagnosis or anything,” Murray said. “This is a very troubling situation, and everybody is doing the best they can with it. There is no diagnosis, and he’s just struggling again with everything.”