“I mean now it’s like, ‘OK, the monkey’s off our back,’ type thing,” Boudreau said. “I’m not saying it’s completely off, but for a day-and-a-half, they’re going to feel a lot better about themselves.”
Scoring with 2:08 left to silence 22,105 screaming fans at the arena nicknamed the “Madhouse on Madison” is an uplifting way to end a skid. Defenseman Sheldon Souray, who scored that game-winner, called goaltender Jonas Hiller the “star” and said the Ducks were happy to pick up two points and get out of Chicago with their slide over.
He’s not making too much of a 3-0 record against the Blackhawks.
“They’re a good team. It’s good we have a little success against them in the regular season, and that’s all it means,” Souray said. “We’ve got a lot of hockey left and everyone is chasing them, but we’re really chasing them.”
The chase is on down the stretch, but the Ducks get to move on to their final 14 regular-season games with the confidence that they essentially own the Blackhawks. Trying to hold their own against other premier teams in the West is a challenge left unconquered.
But now the losing streak is over, and the attention can return to all the things the Ducks have done well.
“We’re not out of the woods by any stretch as far as that goes because anybody can do anything once, but to do things consistently is a big deal,” Boudreau said. “At least they know in their mind that when they put their mind to it, they’re a good hockey team and that the first 22 wins weren’t a fluke.”
Far from a fluke, but as Boudreau learned when he coached the Washington Capitals to the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009-10, regular-season dominance is no guarantee of playoff success.
Veteran players like Selanne understand that, so he considers going undefeated against the Blackhawks nothing more than a first step.
“It’s just regular season,” Selanne said. “Our goal is to build the momentum to the playoffs, and it’s a new season then.”