A bad stretch of hockey is about to get worse for the Ducks.
The early season juggernaut has cooled of late, going 5-6-2 since the beginning of February to take the shine off their Stanley Cup hopes. Now things look even worse with the news that top defenseman Cam Fowler will be sidelined with an MCL sprain.
The club says that Fowler will miss 3-5 weeks of action, so this injury could take him past the regular season and into the first round of the playoffs.
Fowler was in the midst of a breakout season with Anaheim, maturing from a mistake-prone offensive gambler into a reliable two-way defenseman playing heavy minutes against the toughest competition. He's been impressive on the penalty kill and while the power play has struggled, it could go into reverse without him. Fowler leads the Ducks' blueliners with 30 assists and 36 points.
Veteran Stephane Robidas, acquired from the Stars at the trade deadline, made his debut with Anaheim on Tuesday night in a loss to the Capitals. He'll likely be called on to step up his contributions, but coming off a broken leg that had sidelined him since November, he'll be limited in what he can bring. Any way you look at it, this is a serious blow to a club that now looks vulnerable heading into the playoffs.