Anaheim Ducks: Bruce Boudreau wins in return to Washington

Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks

Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bruce Boudreau returned to Washington tonight behind the opponents bench for the first time since being fired by the Caps two seasons ago. His Ducks trailed 2-1 after the first but battled back to claim 3-2 victory, and the franchise’s record-extending ninth straight win.

Boudreau got his NHL head coaching start with the Capitals 21 games into the 2007-08 season. The Caps qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the four seasons Boudreau completed as head coach.

On November 28, 2011, the Washington Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau in reaction to a poor start to the season. Only two-days later, Boudreau was hired by the Anaheim Ducks.

Boudreau’s accomplishments with the Caps are impressive. He became the first head coach in the modern NHL era to reach 200 wins behind the bench. Boudreau also won a Jack Adams in 2007-08, and led the Capitals to a Presidents’ trophy in 2009-10. However, despite all his successes in Washington, the Caps never achieved glory in the Stanley Cup playoffs, failing repeatedly to advance beyond the second round in a good year.

Boudreau’s all time record with the Capitals is an impressive (201-88-40). Since joining the Ducks, he’s been equally astounding, posting a sublime (84-42-19).

For all his regular season success, and the rewarding feeling he embraced in tonight’s victorious effort, Boudreau’s next step as an NHL head coach is to do some significant damage in the playoffs. Barring a major collapse, he will certainly enjoy an opportunity this spring; the Ducks are the NHL’s top team heading into the Christmas break, with 59 points. The bad news is, Anaheim play in the NHL’s toughest division. It’s so competitive in the Pacific that the Ducks could finish in first place and be rewarded with an opening round matchup against the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, 2011 Stanley Cup finalist Vancouver Canucks, or perennial top team the San Jose Sharks.