Blackhawks

Ducks learning how to win right way from previous playoff exits

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Ducks learning how to win right way from previous playoff exits

Sometimes, you have to taste failure before you know what it takes to succeed.

The Anaheim Ducks are walking proof of that.

A year ago, the Ducks set a franchise record for most wins (54) and points (116) in the regular season — both of which led the Western Conference — and entered the postseason as one of the favorites.

[MORE: Ducks overcome fatigue, regroup to regain home ice advantage]

But when they advanced to the second round of playoffs and took a 3-2 series lead on their arch-rival Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks failed to shut the door twice, leading to a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champions.

Oddly enough, the Ducks rolling through their opponents during the season may not have been the best thing for a team trying to figure out how to win the right way. Their second consecutive early exit opened their eyes more than anything.

“I’ve always believed you learn a lot from losing, almost more than you do winning,” Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said after Friday's practice. “If you win all the time, you don’t really understand what exactly you’re doing. You just do it.

[RELATED: Ducks 'outstanding' PK proves to be X-Factor in Game 3 win]

"When you have those times when you go to Game 7 and you see the difference between what they did last year and what we did in that game, you learn a lot about yourselves and what you need to do, how minor the changes are that make the big difference.”

Because of it, the Ducks are two games away from their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2007.

It's the little things that go a long way, and it was evident when they responded to adversity yet again by stealing Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday night after the Blackhawks did the same thing in Anaheim's building two days earlier.

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“It’s more of a mindset that you figure out that a little play matters, or that little chip matters,” Getzlaf said. “Taking the hit to make a play. Those little things like getting the puck deep so you can make a line change.

"Those things are very minor when you look at them individually, but on the scale of a game, when you’re talking about not making mistakes in Game 7, those are part of them.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: