It turns out the Anaheim Ducks aren’t roasted poultry just yet.
Although most hockey pundits considered them to be dead in the water after a horrific month of December, the Ducks have cut in half what was once a 20-point gap between them and the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference thanks to an 11-2-2 run.
Yet despite their recent surge, the next two weeks will be the true test to see if they can remain relevant in the fight for the last couple of playoff spots in the West. With eight games in 15 days as part of a mega-road trip that will have them traveling a grand total of 7,714 miles, the Ducks will begin one of the longest trips in franchise history Friday day against the Detroit Red Wings, a team who has not lost at home in 18 straight contests.
“Somebody’s going to break it. Why not us? ” Ducks center Saku Koivu said. “A game like that and a challenge like that, it’s going to be great for us starting the long road trip.
“If we can get two points in that one, that’s a heck of a start for our team. And I think if you want to make the playoffs, you’re going to have to beat some teams that maybe you’re not expected to win against.”
Not only will the road trip determine if the Ducks can hang around in the playoff picture, it will also let them know if they will be sellers or buyers prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. Although Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu have been deemed untradeable by GM Bob Murray unless they ask him to work a deal to a Stanley Cup contender. However, defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and scoring wingers Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman could be possible trade assets if the Ducks fall out of contention.