Stuck in the basement for Christmas

THE ANAHEIM DUCKS are tied for last place in the NHL Pacific Division (Shutterstock).

The Christmas “pause” in the NHL season could turn out to be a real break for the injury-riddled Anaheim Ducks.

After losing 5-1 to the New York Rangers on Sunday, the Orange County team fell into a three-way tie for last place in the NHL Pacific Division. Sam Steel scored the only Ducks goal, and the score could have been far worse if goalkeeper Ryan Miller hadn’t made 36 saves on 41 shots.

Of course, the local team was short-handed, with their three leading scorers – Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg – all sidelined by injury or illness.

The Ducks may be healthier after Christmas, which could mean a better January than December. So far this month, the Ducks have won four games and lost six, thus their deadlock at the bottom with the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

That traffic jam in the basement is a kind of mirror image of the situation at the top of the division with five teams all within four points of each other.

The Ducks will host the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Honda Center and on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. they’ll host the Philadelphia Flyers.

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