No rest for the weary or wicked. This season has been all about play a game, get it behind you, quick recovery for the next one. No time to linger on what ifs or celebrations.
Beat the Chicago Blackhawks for the third time this season on Friday? Yippee. Now go play Columbus on Sunday.
While the Ducks avoided the slump that followed their last game against Chicago, they still did not get the results they wanted.
It would have been easy to say Columbus would be an easier win just a short time ago, but the Blue Jackets have found a way to turn things around and win a lot of games. Their efforts, including the 2-1 overtime defeat of the Ducks, has rewarded them with the 8th playoff spot in the west (for now, anyway).
Both teams were pretty equal early on, with fatigue showing on both sides. There was no scoring until Derrick Brassard got a puck past Jonas Hiller at 9:53 of the second period.
Emerson Etem tied up the game at 5:55 of the third period. It was the only shot that Sergei Bobrovsky allowed, which is saying a lot, because he had to make 16 saves in the third period alone. The Ducks outshot the Blue Jackets 30 - 18 and came away with just one point for their late efforts.
"You obviously don't like the result," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "I'm frustrated when you do play well. You keep pushing and pushing and we're missing opportunities. And you can tell we got good chances. But we're missing opportunities that guys shouldn't be missing. They're right in front of the net."
Despite the hard work from the third period and into the extra frame in overtime, the Blue Jackets prevailed. Mark Letestu earned the extra point for Columbus with just one minute remaining before they would head to a shootout.
Anaheim now has to turn it around quickly and prepare for Dallas, a team they will play three times this week. The first is in Texas on Monday evening, followed by two home games in Anaheim on Wednesday and Friday this week. Another mini playoff prep and those six points will feel like 12 when you are playing a team in your division.
Even if Anaheim has a hefty lead in the Pacific Division, Dallas is still vying for a playoff spot. They are in the middle of six teams, from 8th to 13th, that are separated by a mere three points. The Ducks will need a full 60 minute effort if they want to keep that comfortable cushion.
In other notes: The Ducks made a minor league trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. Anaheim acquired Harry Zolnierczyk in exchange for Jay Rosehill. Zolnierczyk, 25, will report to the Ducks AHL affiliate in Norfolk.