The 2011–12Anaheim Ducksseason was the 19th season of operation (18th season of play) for the National Hockey League franchise. Their first game of the season was held on October 7, 2011 against the Buffalo Sabres in Helsinki, Finland. The Ducks had a disappointing season compared to 2010–11, struggling in the first half of the season and digging a hole that was too deep to climb out of despite a second-half resurgence. 2011–12 will mark the second time in their last three seasons that the Ducks have missed the playoffs. The Ducks ultimately finished the season in 13th place in the Western Conference and with a mediocre 34–36–12 record.
While the Anaheim Ducks entered the 2011 offseason with no major free agent challenges, the franchise did indeed have some question marks heading into the 2011–12 season. The biggest question on the ice, was whether or not super-star Teemu Selanne would retire. The 40 year old was incredibly successful in the 2010–11 season averaging over a point a game, however, his age and length of his career (18 NHL seasons) was a factor. The Ducks' offseason started with the NHL draft when Anaheim took Rickard Rakell in the first round (30th overall), John Gibson in the second round (39th overall), and traded for Andrew Cogliano from Edmonton and signed him to a 3 year deal. Head coach Randy Carlyle also got a contract extension of 3 years after guiding the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2007 and into the playoffs every season since he took the helm except for the 2009–10 season. On the retirement front, the Ducks lost long-time 3rd line center Todd Marchant to retirement on June 29, 2011 and on the same day, former Ducks captain Paul Kariya announced his retirement, putting to bed any rumor that he may return to the franchise he helped build. Other than a few transactions, the summer for Anaheim was relatively quiet with most of the talk concerning the health of goaltender Jonas Hiller and whether or not Selanne will return for another season. Hiller was reported to be symptom free as of August 19 and was expected to arrive at the Ducks camp on time in September and Selanne announced his return on September 15 after undergoing knee surgery early in the summer. Early in September, tragedy rocked the hockey world when a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the KHL crashed. The team featured some NHL prospects and former NHL stars including former Mighty Duck Ruslan Salei. Salei had been a mainstay in the Anaheim organization for many years and a small memorial was erected in front of Honda Center by Ducks fans to remember him immediately after people began to find out about his passing.
On the business side, the Sacramento Kings of the NBA expressed interest in moving to Honda Center, the Ducks' home arena. The team had until May 2, 2011 to file for relocation to play in Anaheim for the 2011–12 season. Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli have been trying to lure an NBA team to Honda Center since they purchased the team, mainly because of the positive impact the team would have on the Ducks' finances and the finances of Samueli-owned Anaheim Arena Management. It was announced, however, on May 2 that the Kings would remain in Sacramento for at least one more season. Even though the Ducks remained the sole at least through the 2011–12 season, the Anaheim Ducks and Anaheim Arena Management announced that they would be doing a major upgrade to the arena in mid-June, 2011. The upgrade includes a new restaurant, expanded club area, grand terrace, new east entrance, and larger team store and the cost is reportedly in the tens of millions. The Ducks also announced ticket prices for individual games will be reduced in order to take advantage of an "all-in" pricing mechanism.
See the game log below for detailed game-by-game regular season information.
The 2011–12 Anaheim Ducks regular season schedule was released on June 23, 2011 and, as expected, the Ducks started their season as part of the NHL Premiere in Helsinki, Finland on October 7. Their first home game was on Friday, October 14 against in-state rival San Jose. Anaheim's first actual road game was on Monday, October 17 against the Sharks at HP Pavilion. Their longest homestand was from December 29 – January 10 (6 home games), and their longest road trip was February 10–23 (8 road games). Their final game of the regular season was on Saturday, April 7 at Calgary.
The Ducks struggled in the first half of the season, posting 18 points and a record of 6–20–6 over 32 games from October 21–January 4, including a particularly brutal 3-point, 1–8–1 stretch from November 5–November 27 that ultimately led to a coaching change. Beginning on January 6 they embarked on a turnaround, accumulating 38 points over a 24-game span and having one of the NHL's best records for games played in January through mid-February. However, beginning on February 27 Anaheim proceeded to fall into another frustrating 5–8–1 ditch which ultimately would eliminate them from the playoff hunt. The Ducks were mathematically eliminated as of Wednesday, March 28, at which point the Ducks only had 10 points up for grabs through the remainder of the season, and 11 separated them from the last playoff spot. Anaheim's season ended on Saturday, April 7 with a 5–2 loss to Calgary. Primary goaltender Jonas Hiller finished 2011–12 with a 29–30–12 record and with a 2.57 goals-against average.
November 25: For the fourth year in a row, the Ducks faced the Chicago Blackhawks at home on the day after Thanksgiving, losing 6–5.
November 30: After snapping their seven game winless streak against the Montréal Canadiens, the Ducks organization relieved head coach Randy Carlyle of his duties and hired former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau to replace him.
December 17: The Ducks visited the newly reincarnated Winnipeg Jets for the first time, losing 5–3. It was also current Ducks star and former Winnipeg Jets star Teemu Selanne's first regular season game in Winnipeg since he was traded to the Ducks in 1996.
December 29: The Ducks' longest homestand (6 games) began. The Ducks went 3–3–0 during this homestand.
December 31: J.S. Giguere made his first visit to Honda Center since being traded from the Ducks as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, defeating his former team 4–2.
March 25: The Ducks hosted the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins at Honda Center. The only meeting between the two teams during the 2011–12 season, goaltender Marty Turco led Boston to a 3–2 defeat of Anaheim.
* Despite the fact that Anaheim defeated San Jose in a 3–1 decision, the Ducks were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on March 28 due to Dallas and Los Angeles wins earlier in the evening.
Note: GP = Games Played; GS = Games Started; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes); W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime Losses; GA = Goals Against; GAA= Goals Against Average; SA= Shots Against; SV= Saves; Sv% = Save Percentage; SO= Shutouts