Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames - Game Three

Poll: Should the Ducks fire Boudreau?

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To some, it’s an absurd question. To others, it’s absurd that people would question the decision.

Either way, we just have to ask at this point: should the Anaheim Ducks part ways with head coach Bruce Boudreau?

On one hand, he’s enjoyed fantastic regular season success, piling up division titles and other impressive accomplishments. Boudreau coached in his first conference final series, which mattered until expectations simply rose with that accomplishment.

You probably know the anti-Boudreau drill: his team failed again in a big situation, and it wasn’t pretty. Many will quibble with various matchup decisions and other mistakes.

Also consider this, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

It’s ridiculous to think Bruce Boudreau could be in any trouble after getting within a win of the Stanley Cup Final, but the relationship between he and Murray is… let’s go with “strained.”

Yes, he’s 1-6 in Game 7s, but he’s won his division (and made the playoffs) in seven of his eight years as a coach. It’s harder than ever to get into the playoffs. He gets you there; the Ducks need to remember that. In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss, a couple of coaches remarked how similar it looked to last year’s 6-2 Game 7 defeat to the Kings.

Feel free to weigh in with reasoning in the comments (maybe provide a replacement if you think he should be fired?) and cast your vote in the poll.

Despite getting further than ever before, big game letdowns continue to haunt Boudreau

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“It’s a relief that I won’t get asked that question anymore. I’m sure now it will be, ‘Well, you’ve never been to the Cup Final.’”

That was Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau talking after reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time in his career. On the one hand, he hit the nail on the head. He killed the narrative about how he’s never been to the Conference Final and that’s merely shifted the discussion to a higher round. If he finds that unfair then perhaps he has cause to, but at the same time, he has a story of missed opportunities that is literally unparalleled in NHL history.

He has lost six Game 7s in his career, which is something no other head coach from past or present can claim, per Sportsnet. There are only two teams in NHL history to lose at home in Game 7s in three straight seasons: the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, according to ESPN. In both cases Boudreau was at the helm. Keep in mind that the home team has a 94-67 all-time record in Game 7s, including Chicago’s 5-3 victory tonight.

At best, Boudreau has been unlucky to the point of being a significant statistical anomaly. At worst, he’s the link the correlation suggests he is. Either way, it’s tremendously unfortunate because his teams have been terrific most of the time. His 363-167-69 regular season record gives him the best points percentage of any coach that’s led at least 500 games. Scotty Bowman ranks second on that list.

“I’ve gained an appreciation for how hard it is … I thought we had a good chance to get to the dance, but we didn’t make it,” Boudreau said after his latest setback, per the Ducks’ Twitter feed.

“Sometimes things just don’t work out,” he added. “They care so much, they’re gonna feel it for a long time.”

If there is a consolation it’s that the Ducks under Boudreau have made progress, even if it’s been painful. In 2014 they won their first playoff series since 2009. This year they made it to the Conference Final for the first time since 2007. They don’t have much further to left to climb in order to achieve their goal.

Perhaps Anaheim will bounce right back next year and win the championship. Then the story about Boudreau will be one of a man that came so close so many times finally being rewarded for his persistence and efforts. For now though, the narrative isn’t nearly so pleasant.

Boudreau mulls line changes ahead of Game 7

Bruce Boudreau
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Though he wouldn’t commit to anything, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau is contemplaing mixing up his bottom-six forward group for tomorrow’s Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against Chicago.

Right winger Kyle Palmieri — who has spent most of this series on a line with Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson — was replaced by Jiri Sekac on the third line, moving Palmieri onto the fourth with Rickard Rakell and Tomas Fleischmann. Fleischmann had taken the place of Emerson Etem on the bottom line, which has happened on a few occasions this postseason (including Game 5 of this series).

The moves were a chemistry test, according to Boudreau, who suggested he might use these new units as Anaheim looks to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in eight years.

“I wanted to see it in practice today,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com. “We tried that a little bit. I wanted to make sure that if that’s the route we’re going to go, then I wanted to see if they at least had sort of some good chemistry together. We talked about it and we’ll talk about it again [Saturday] morning.

“By no means are those set in stone, those lines today.”

Boudreau: Ducks were ‘nervous Nellies’ in last year’s Game 7 versus Kings

Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five
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The last time the Anaheim Ducks hosted a Game 7, they came out of the gates and fell flat on their faces.

The Ducks would go on to lose 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in last year’s second-round series-decider. It was 3-0 before the first period had even ended.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is hoping to avoid a repeat of that performance on Saturday when the Ducks host the Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, with a chance to play for the Stanley Cup on the line.

“I think last year’s Game 7, we were just a bunch of nervous Nellies,” he said. “Hopefully that happened in Game 6 and won’t carry over to Game 7.”

As you might have inferred, Boudreau did not think his team played with much poise in last night’s 5-2 defeat at United Center.

“We lost our composure for the first time I thought in the playoffs,” he said. “They scored the one goal. It was like, ‘Ah, what’s going on?’ We started scrambling all over. They got the momentum. We lost our composure.”

Related: Getzlaf: ‘I was terrible’ in Game 6

Boudreau isn’t worried about Andersen after Ducks ‘bailed him out’

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In the waning moments of regulation during Game 5, it looked like Frederik Andersen might be fitted with goat horns. His Anaheim Ducks teammates ended his tension pretty quickly, however, as Matt Beleskey scored the game-winner just 45 seconds into overtime.

That’s the funny thing about the playoffs. Sometimes a big gaffe can linger in the greater consciousness, yet sometimes a player gets absolved – more or less – by victory.

Andersen’s had many moments when he came through for his teammates, yet in a 5-4 OT win against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was clear that the shoe was on the other foot last night.

The young goalie noted that captain Ryan Getzlaf was quick to lift his spirits.

“[Getzlaf] came down right away and tried to pick me up; he’s a great leader,” Andersen said, according to NHL.com. “Told me whatever matters now is the next shot; that’s all I can worry about it. That was my mindset.”

Interestingly enough, the 25-year-old didn’t even need to make a save in overtime, as the Ducks fired all four shots on goal in that very quick bit of extra hockey.

With that, some wonder if the young goalie might get in his own head, but Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t seem worried.

“Well, you know what, he’s played so many good games in a row, and he’s bailed us out so often,” Boudreau said. “You know, he had an unfortunate couple of goals against him today. Freddie will be the first one to tell you he should have had them. But it was time that we bailed him out. He’ll be back to his normal, regular, great self in two days.”

“It was good to see if he had a bad game, we were able to help him out a little bit.”

He really has been great, too.

While you could chalk some of his regular season success up to his team (35-12-5 record despite a fairly standard .914 save percentage), he’s really elevated his play in the postseason with an impressive .925 save percentage. It’s easy to see why his teammates rallied around him on a tough night, then.

The NHL on NBC crew discusses Andersen’s rocky night and wonders if there will be any lingering effects: