The Ducks recorded their 41st consecutive sellout at Honda Center on Thursday night. But I swear the place was 90 percent full. Entire rows were missing. Maybe they bought their tickets before Halloween and still had a stomachache from eating all of last night’s candy.
Seriously, there have been two home games this year tonight’s and October 15 against Detroit when I thought for sure this mammoth sellout streak would see its terminus. And was definitely a lighter crowd tonight. But alas, Honda Center clearly measures sellouts in paid attendance (as opposed to butts-in-seats), and so the “streak” continues.
Regardless of how many people weren’t here, they missed a damn good game. Ducks put together their best power-play performance against the best penalty-killing team in the league (and still came up empty). I saw my first 10-men-at-once fight, and even that was after three separate instances of one-on-one glove-dropping.
And then there was 39-year-old Mathieu Schneider. Broadest smile in the clubhouse after he shot, and made, the first shot he’s ever taken in a shootout in his life. But he wouldn’t have been there if not for a gutsy call by Randy Carlyle that I loved. Schneider was one of the last people you’d have expected to shoot, and that made it perfect: He could only go out there and have fun, make or miss. If it was a guy like, say, Corey Perry, upon whom so much pressure has been heaped to provide offense, the pressure would have been on. Even Schneider confessed he thought Carlyle was kidding when Carlyle asked him to shoot.
I mentioned this to Carlyle after the game. “No. I wasn’t kidding,” he said.