The Anaheim Ducks started last season about as poorly as one could imagine. They were 1-7-2 by the end of October, and they’d been shut out five times.
Though they recovered nicely and went on to finish first in the Pacific Division, a first-round exit cost head coach Bruce Boudreau his job.
So to say the least, it was a tumultuous year in Anaheim.
And it doesn’t get any easier to start 2016-17. With Randy Carlyle back behind the bench, the Ducks begin the regular season with five straight road games — in Dallas, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Newark, and Philadelphia. After that, they return home to face Vancouver, then they’re straight back on the road for a visit to San Jose.
“We have a very difficult road trip to kick the season off,” Carlyle said, per the O.C. Register. “Everybody’s well aware of it. The schedule’s been out since late July. It’s not like it’s any hidden fact. We have a tough schedule coming and we have to prepare to play at a pretty high level. We’re going to open a couple of buildings at the start that are pretty tough to win in.”
The Ducks have struggled so far in the preseason. In fact, they’re the only winless team in the league, going 0-3-1 and getting outscored by a combined margin of 12-4.
Granted, they’ve been without Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, both of whom represented Canada at the World Cup, as well as Hampus Lindholm, who doesn’t have a contract yet, and Rickard Rakell, who’s in the same boat as Lindholm.
But with that “very difficult road trip” looming, it would be nice to get a win or two in their final three preseason games, if only to build some confidence.
The Ducks play tonight in Edmonton and Wednesday in San Jose before finishing their preseason schedule Sunday at home to the Sharks.
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