Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
The Anaheim Ducks have the best record in the NHL. Their coach, Bruce Boudreau, seems to have fallen up when he was fired by the Washington Capitals in 2011. The team has won nine in row, led by offensive stars Ryan Getzlaf, number three in league in points, and Corey Perry, number three in the league in goals. They have a good chance to win their second Stanley Cup since 2007. Monday night, they extended their winning streak with a comeback victory in Boudreau’s, Bob Woods’s, and Mathieu Perreault’s return to Verizon Center.
“Nine in a row: that’s pretty cool,” Boudreau told reporters after the game. “They were trying hard for the guys that were in Washington.”
For Boudreau, it was a surreal experience, plucked from the AHL’s Hershey Bears to lead the Capitals in 2007. More than anyone save for Alex Ovechkin, Boudreau is responsible for putting hockey back on the map in Washington. Without him, the Capitals wouldn’t have had their 202nd consecutive sellout Monday night. Without him, the team wouldn’t become the talk of the NHL. Without him, there may not have been any banners.
“Four and a half years — the greatest years of my life,” Boudreau said. “They didn’t put me on the board! Oh well.”
“I was a little surprised,” he concluded. “What can you do?”
Boudreau still has a soft spot for the Capitals. He watches their games and follows his old players. In his new gig, however, he may get the championship he always fell short of in Washington. The playoffs are a different type of hockey, but Boudreau’s new team plays a more all-around game then his squads in Washington. The Ducks are third in the league in goals per game, but — surprisingly for anyone who watched Bruce’s Caps teams — they also play defense.
“Bruce has done great things with us,” goaltender Jonas Hiller said. “Everybody really likes him here.”
“We just believe in ourselves right now,” he told me. “We come to the rink every night to want to win a game, not just come here not to lose, to see how things go. We want to win.”