Wednesday night's matchup against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks means so much to both teams; Chicago, hoping to take over first place in the Western Conference, and Anaheim, desperately trying to earn a place in the playoffs.
As if going 1-4-1 to start the final stretch wasn't bad enough, the Ducks saw Center Ryan Getzlaf re-injure his tender ankle against San Jose on Sunday night. This is the same ankle that put a potential question mark over his Olympic appearance.
Of course Getzlaf recovered in time to help the Ducks win one final game before he and fellow teammates Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer joined team Canada to take the gold medal.
In addition to a battered up Getzlaf, winger Teemu Selanne took the spotlight when he cashed in on goal No. 599. While desperately seeking goal No. 600, Selanne was sent crashing into the boards after swatting at a feed from linemate Saku Koivu.
With the outlook on both players is positive for game time, it is imperative that both of these men are able to compete at the high level the Ducks will require to continue to stay in playoff contention.
Currently the Ducks find themselves sitting in the 13th position in the West.
With 68 games played and 70 points, the Ducks, if they were to win out the remainder of the season, can only expect to have a maximum of 98 points. Those playoff teams ahead of them include Detroit, 80 points, and Nashville with 83.
Realistically, if the Ducks want to make the playoffs, the only tool at their disposal is to win games.
As many as possible.
The first step in that direction is scoring; something the team has been struggling with lately. Recently the Ducks were able to tap into their much needed offense when they finally beat the Sharks this season with a 4-2 victory.
Those same offensive powers, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan for example, must be present against the Blackhawks if they intend on being successful.
Chicago isn't necessarily going to be playing with the desperation that Anaheim must bring to their game tonight. Now that the team is being supported by a stronger defense, there are no excuses to get things done.
Speaking of defense, Lubomir Visnovsky is riding a bit of a hot streak. Currently winning over the hearts of fans all over Anaheim, Visnovsky is clearly excelling with the Ducks as he's scored 3-0=3 points in his first five games with Anaheim. Personally, I find myself at the edge of my seat every time I see that guy with the puck.
Grab some green brew and enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day game! An elite team versus a desperate team…should be a great matchup.