With the chance to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at their heels, the Anaheim Ducks enter bitterly familiar territory in Game 6, and potentially Game 7, in the team’s playoff series against the Dallas Stars. The Ducks have a 3-2 series lead making the next win the team can pull off the final one — but Anaheim has been here before and if memory serves it wasn’t too pretty.
Their inability to close a playoff game last season against the Detroit Red Wings and eventually losing the series on home ice in Game 7 helped launch the Ducks’ season slogan of “unfinished business.” And while the words have made great for stories and after game win speeches, it has also fed Anaheim’s emotion as a team. And while emotion is often a great motivator, for the Ducks it has also been a factor of great demise.
Anaheim, at times, continues to be the overly emotional little brother on the ice. The Ducks let the Red Wings get under their skin last year until they found themselves playing rounds of golf much earlier than predicted in the summer; this year Anaheim allowed the Stars to even up the series in Dallas by doing the same. Emotion is good until it can’t be checked, and the Ducks’ showing in Game 3 of the series proved the downfall.
But Friday night Anaheim regained control by swiping a 6-2 victory away from the Stars and further proving what this team needs to do for the remainder of the series. They stayed out of the drama and played the game. You don’t win Stanley Cups from a penalty box.
Going into Sunday night’s rumble on the Stars’ home ice, Anaheim’s key will be playing a game of speed and talent without engaging in the rough and tumble Dallas has bested the Ducks with. While emotions run wild in the heat of a game and staying away from the scuffs is always easier said than done, all Anaheim really needs to remember is that getting the chip of “unfinished business” off their shoulders and onto those of the Stars’ is the only fight in this series truly worth winning.