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DUCKS CROWNED CHAMPIONS!!! Written by quackquack - June 29th, 2010

Anaheim breaks the curse and completes the triple crown.

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After winning both the Invitational Classic as well as the Prospect tourney, expectations were high going into season 6 for The Anaheim Ducks.  Getting off to a somewhat shaky start , Anaheim trailed Phoenix  for the top spot in the Pacific Division winning 13 games in the first 20. Then disaster stuck as Anaheim won only 3 games in the next 11 and dropped to 3rd behind the upstart Los Angeles Kings.

The Ducks lacked leadership and struck a couple deals with Montreal that saw them bring in Brian Rolston,who was immediately handed the C from Ryan Getzlaf, Kim Johnsson and Alex Frolov. These 3 werent picked at random, the trio had all played in over 400 regular season games as well as had a combined 216 playoff games. Rolston has been in the cup final for the past 3 years but hadnt hoisted the league's ultimate prize. Frolov ,a bit of the opposite , won the Cup the last 2 years with the Islanders and the BlueJackets. Kim Johnsson was a 2 time cup winner playing with Columbus as well as winning one in season 2 with Montreal.

Frolov and Rolston clicked playing on the top line with Shawn Horcoff and the veteran Swedish defender helped form one of the leauge's best pairings and helping Shea Weber become a Norris candidate.

After striking the deals with Montreal, Anaheim only lost 6 more times in regulation and could have secured their second Presidents trophy with a win on the final day, but lost to a playoff hungry Vancouver Canuck team.

Finishing atop the conference for the 2nd time in 4 years , the Ducks drew the Colorado Avalanche in the first round and after a close first game, Anaheim proved too much for the team from Denver and swept them in 4 straight. The Ducks then faced off against Chicago and what seemed to be an awoken and motivated Joe Thornton but after a close couple opening games the series soon mirrored that of the first round and the Ducks walked over the Hawks in 4 straight.

Back to familiar ground for Anaheim as they were once again ready to play for Western Conference supremity. Losing the last 3 years to Columbus at this stage, Anaheim awaited their matchup with their long time rival but it was not to be. The LA Kings sqeeked by the Blue Jackets, winning thier second round matchup in 7 games against the Western powerhouse. Most people predicted an easy trip to the finals for the Ducks but the players in the dressing room knew this wasnt the case losing the last 4 games against them during the regular season.

Anaheim lost the first game 6-2 at home and was a brutal 63% on the PK. Fixing the PK, the Ducks came out with a 6-4 win but promptly lost game 3 in a fight filled affair 4-0. Captain Brian Rolston called a team only meeting in which he stressed the importance of not falling into the traps that the scrappy Kings team were setting. It seemed to work as the Ducks won the next 3 games setting up their first ever Stanley Cup appearance.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, the CMHL's President trophy winner looked to cap a great season with a story book ending. Most figured this would be an all out war as the top 2 remaining scorers and top 2 netminders would be facing off for all the marbles.

Game 1 went in Toronto and it was a very close 1-1 game through till the third. The Leafs then notched 3 goals in the first 9 minutes to go up 4-1 but Anaheim didnt give up and potted the next 4 goals to get the win 5-4. Game 2 was equally close with the teams exchanging goals going into the 3rd tied at 2. As soon as the third period started, Backstrom and Leclaire showed why they are 2 of the game's best not allowing any goals for the next 50 minutes, till former Duck Lee Stempniak had a brutal giveaway which directly lead to Jochen Hecht's game winner halfway through double OT.  For game 3 the teams traveled back to Anaheim where the game was tight once again through 2 periods. In the third the Ducks gave the fans something to cheer about, scoring 6 goals enroute to a 7-1 stomping. 

You could sense the mood had changed for game 4 as the Cup was in the building. Anaheim came out flying with Alex Frolov notching the game's first goal just 3 minutes in. Anaheim continued on their attack but Leclaire stood tall turning away shot after shot until Milan Hejduk scored on a weird one that bounced off the back boards right onto his stick with about 3 minutes left. Period 2 started with Shea Weber taking a holding the stick penalty but that didnt deter Shawn Horcoff from scoring his 2nd shorthanded goal of the playoffs and the eventual Cup winner. Rolston and Frolov also scored to finish the game by a tally of 4-1 and complete the sweep.

As the Cup was placed in Brian Rolston's hands the tears started to run, turning 37, it could very well be the last time the veteran winger will be around hockey's holy grail and it seemed as if he knew the same.

 

CONN SMYTHE CANDIDATES

1. Shawn Horcoff

Paced playoffs scoring 11-18-29 in 18 games. Led playoffs with 2 SHG and 4 GWG. 8 points in finals.

2. Niklas Backstrom

16-2. 2.22 GAA, 2 SOs and a sparkling .918 save percentage. Led goalies in all categories.

3. Shea Weber

6 goals , 12 assists, 2 gwg, logged top minutes against opponents first lines. Led dmen in scoring.

 

ANAHEIM TOP TEN PLAYOFF SCORERS

1.Shawn Horcoff 11-18-29 (4 GWG)

2.Shea Weber 6-12-18 (2 GWG)

3.Ryan Getlzaf 5-12-17

4.Brian Rolston 6-10-16 (3 GWG)

5.Kim Johnsson 3-12-15

6.Alex Frolov 8-7-15 (2 GWG)

7.Marian Hossa 8-6-12 (2 GWG)

8.Jochen Hecht 6-5-11 (2 GWG)

9.Robyn Regehr 0-10-10

10.Jarret Stoll 4-5-9 (1 GWG)

DUCK FAcT

- With the Cup party still going strong rumors surround Anaheim. Talking to reporters most will tell you that Chris Phillips and Alex Frolov are actively being shopped. Some people even point to Horcoff's name being thrown around in trade talks.

-full anaheim duck season 6 review coming soon.

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Congratulations on a great season quackquack! You deserve it!

Written By: habsfan93 (2010-07-09 10:39:16)

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