The Ducks finished the month of March with a wild come from behind victory over the visiting Winnipeg Jets. The Ducks were down 4-0 late in the 2nd, but scored once at the end of the 2nd period, 3 times in the 3rd, and once in overtime to give the Ducks their biggest come from behind victory in franchise history. It was also the teams 49th victory this season, also a new franchise record. Overall, the Ducks played 14 games and had a record of 7-4-3 for 17 points. Certainly not one of their better months, but it was still good enough to keep the Ducks on top of the Pacific Division with games in hand over the San Jose Sharks.
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The worst game for the Ducks this past month was the 7-2 beat down in Calgary. Nothing went right for Anaheim in this game. There wasn't a good player on the ice for the Ducks and the Flames could do no wrong in this game. Every team throws up a stinker game now and then, so it wasn't too concerning to me. Especially since the Ducks came back and won their next game and defeated the Flames later in the month. But this was easily the Ducks worst game of the month, and I would argue their worst game of the season.
I'm actually going to pick 2 games for the best game of March for the Ducks. The 1st one is a bit of an oddity since the Ducks actually lost in it. It was the 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Ducks did lose in the shootout, it was their play before it that was fantastic. Sidney Crosby had no shots through regulation and the team was limited to just 17 shots through 65 minutes. The Ducks absolutely manhandled the Penguins through the 1st 2 periods and were clearly the better team. Since playoff games will not be decided by the shootout, I'm fine with the Ducks losing in one when they look this good. The 2nd game that I would pick as the Ducks best game for March was last nights come back win over Winnipeg. And this is also an odd pick too. For the 1st 35 minutes the Ducks looked outclassed in every way and there was a legitimate fear of this turning into another game like the one against Calgary. But starting with a late 2nd period goal from Nick Bonino, the Ducks were able to battle back. They absolutely dominated the 3rd period and looked like a completely different team. Winnipeg had no answer for the Ducks as the attack just kept coming. In the end the Ducks were able to tie it late and then win it early in overtime. While it wasn't a well played game, it was an exciting final 20 minutes for Ducks fans and showed that this team will not give up and will keep battling back.
The biggest surprise for the Ducks in March was where the offense came from. While Corey Perry scored 9 goals, his linemate Ryan Getzlaf only scored twice, both in the last few games. Getzlaf has been scoring goals in bunches all season, but not in March. Instead, as has happened earlier this season, the depth stepped up, but a couple of the names were quite surprising. Pat Maroon had 11 points this past month, 3rd on the team behind only Getzlaf and Perry. He has stepped his game up in a big way and is making his presence felt in front of opposing netminders. Mathieu Perreault is currently riding a 9 game point streak, a career high for him and the longest current point streak on the Ducks, and has 10 points in those 9 games. He's looking dangerous with the puck and making good decisions with it, often leading to an Anaheim goal.
The biggest worry for the Ducks in March was how many goals they gave up. Overall, the Ducks gave up 40 goals in 14 games for an average of 2.86 goals against per game, a number that is way too high if the Ducks want to advance deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 3 games alone, the Ducks gave up 4 or more goals and managed to win only 1 of them. The Ducks team defense needs to tighten up and the goalies need to play better for this team as April rolls around.
The Ducks finished the month of March 3 games above .500, and that was one of their weaker months all season. It's slightly disturbing how the Ducks seem to be struggling as the season winds to a close, but they have shown multiple times this month that they are still not a team to be trifled with. Hopefully they can put their defensive struggles behind them and get back to winning in dominant fashion.
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