Just since Saturday night, the Ducks have lost six one-goal leads, four third-period advantages and two shootouts. All at Phoenix. On Wednesday, they return to their home ice. The opponent? The Coyotes. Again. Or maybe that should be again and again. "It's like fighting against your brother," said Teemu Selanne, who definitely knows brothers; he has a twin. "There are no secrets." At Honda Center, the Ducks and Phoenix will meet for the third consecutive game. Not even the Roadrunner encountered his coyote counterpart as often. This sort of scheduling happens each year in the NHL; usually, though, they call it the playoffs. This time, the tripleheader is the byproduct of a regular season stuffed into 31/2months because of the lockout. "It's a little quirky," Ducks forward Nick Bonino said. "But it's fun. The schedule already is like a playoff, so why not play the same team over and over?" None of the Ducks quizzed Tuesday could recall meeting the same opponent three games in a row during a regular season. That's any regular season. At any level. Ever. Three games against one team? Sure, if that team is the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers and the sport is baseball, where players generally drop the gloves only because their half inning of defense has ended. Consecutive games aren't unusual in hockey, especially in the minor leagues. But, even when the NHL had only six franchises playing 70 times apiece, rarely did the same teams meet more than twice in succession. The nature of this sport – hockey players get two minutes for acts that, off the ice, could net them two years – suggests familiarity that brings with it risk, unnecessary risk. Hockey, understand, is very good at taking the quaint out of acquaintance. "We've all been involved in that sort of thing," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's hockey." The games between the Ducks and Coyotes in the desert featured nothing in terms of glaring belligerence, although Phoenix coming back to win both in shootouts seemed excessive.
Miller: NHL schedule makes Ducks' foes familiar
Orange County Register | Mar 6