The Anaheim Ducks–Toronto Maple Leafs game Thursday night was a wild one, with the Ducks coming back from a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead, only to have the Maple Leafs come back from that to win 6-5 in overtime.
It’s the second loss in a row for the Ducks, who dropped a 4-3 decision in Montreal Tuesday night. No matter – the single point they picked up in Toronto was enough for the Ducks to clinch their fourth playoff berth in a row.
And despite these two recent losses to non-playoff teams, there’s reason to believe the Ducks will enter the post-season as the team to beat in the Western Conference. After a miserable start to the season that had them at the bottom of the standings and left many questioning the job security of head coach Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim has been one of the hotter teams in the NHL since the calendar flipped over to 2016.
The Ducks have nine games left on the schedule – four at home – and are just three points back of Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division.
Last season the Ducks advanced to the Western Conference final, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games.