Yes, the Ducks have lost a Game 7 at home the last two seasons.
And yes, they have another Game 7 at home tomorrow versus the Chicago Blackhawks, with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.
But for one simple reason, what happened the last two years doesn’t have much predictive value, according to Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
“The last two years, we were a different team,” Beauchemin said. “We were a younger team. We added some players last summer that have been making the difference all year long for our team. Like I said, it’s not going to be the same Ducks that played Game 7 the last two years.”
Anaheim’s major offseason addition was Ryan Kesler, acquired from Vancouver to give the Ducks the kind of one-two punch at center that the Los Angeles Kings — the team that eliminated Anaheim last year on its way to winning the Stanley Cup — boast with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter.
“I think I can fit into this team and be a good No. 2 behind Ryan Getzlaf,” Kesler said in June. ”I’m going to Anaheim to win a championship.”
Adding to the optimism created by the Kesler acquisition, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau remarked: “I’ve never coached a team in the NHL that’s had a second-line center that you’re going to have with Ryan Kesler.”
And for adding Kesler, as well as all the other moves he made, Ducks GM Bob Murray was named a finalist for NHL GM of the year.
So yeah, quite a bit on the line tomorrow in Anaheim. This is exactly why the Ducks got Kesler, for a game like this. To prove that, this year, things are different.
“Our goal wasn’t to get to the conference final. Our goal was to get to the Stanley Cup Final,” said Beauchemin.
“We have a chance to do that in Game 7 here.”