Ducks find there is more to winning than getting healthier
ANAHEIM – Being healthy is relative in a sport where there are nightly collisions and the probability of getting hit by a puck shot up to 90 miles per hour or more. As long as one is able to play, one is “healthy.”
But when it’s the Ducks and the number of significant injuries they have dealt with this season, their game against Vegas represented the healthiest lineup they were able to put on the ice. It doesn’t mean wins will automatically follow.
It didn’t against the Golden Knights, who erased an early deficit and won going away even as the Ducks welcomed Ryan Kesler back for his season debut. And it doesn’t mean that liftoff will commence even though the only two notable players that remain on the sidelines are Corey Perry and Patrick Eaves.
Every win matters to a group that’s got to work their way above the logjam they’re in for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. Work is the key word.
“This doesn’t happen automatic,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “This is the best league in the world and anybody can beat anybody on any given night. You have to have your ‘A’ game going to have success.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to scrape, crawl, scratch to stay relevant with the rest of the group. And we’re in it. We’re close. But now it’s time for our team to take the next step. Now how quickly we can do that, that’s up to us.”
Slowly, the Ducks have crept closer to being complete after opening the year without Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen. During it, they’ve lost Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, Ryan Miller and Ondrej Kase for multiple weeks. Others have missed multiple games.
And while Vatanen was swapped for Adam Henrique, the Ducks lost Perry on the same night […]