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Brutal February will reveal if Ducks are for real

Jan 22, 2012, 11:07 PM EDT

Jonas Hiller AP

The playoffs are still far out of reach right now (the Colorado Avalanche team they beat tonight are ahead by 11 points), but you can’t blame the Anaheim Ducks for starting to believe.

The Ducks are on the kind of run that might remind some of their blazing drive to the playoffs in 2010-11. Anaheim’s 3-2 win over the Avalanche is its fifth win a row, improving the Ducks’ January record to 8-1-1.

If any player is adhering to hypothetical New Year’s resolutions, it’s once-wayward goalie Jonas Hiller. His Sunday performance is a tidy microcosm of his turnaround month. Hiller stopped 43 out of 45 shots to win a game that seemed quite one-sided in the Avs’ favor.

That was most clear as Hiller shut out Colorado in the first period even though the Ducks were out-shot 15-2. (Meanwhile, Hiller’s former teammate Jean-Sebastien Giguere only set aside one of those Anaheim shots.)

Colorado won the shots battle in all three periods but the Ducks came out on top as their big guns made the difference. Bobby Ryan scored two goals, Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist and Teemu Selanne collected a helper of his own.

A quick look into the Ducks’ future

The next month or so will be an excellent test regarding how serious the Ducks might be. January’s last two games are away from Anaheim, followed by a four-game homestand and then they face a staggering eight-game road trip. Their schedule is a little more balanced toward the end of the season, but they’ll have a pair of three-game road trips after that bombshell eight-gamer.

By the time the trade deadline rolls around, it should be pretty clear how legitimate these Ducks really are. Do you expect them to survive that journey or become sellers once the big-time swapping heats up?

  1. Mark Boland Jr - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    If the Ducks continue their play at this pace then they will be buyers come the trade deadline. If you love the NHL then google “daily grind sports”, they have great NHL coverage

  2. buffalomafia - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    All this talk about the Ducks! What about the. Buffalo Sabres?Half of the players on that team don’t belong in the NHL!

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