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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 6:57 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks look to bounce back on 'the road'

STOCKHOLM -- While the Anaheim Ducks will get to wear their home uniforms Saturday night at Ericsson Globe Arena, they know they had their “home” game last night at Hartwall Areena and this contest against the New York Rangers here could feel more like a contest at Staples Center than Honda Center.

"Yeah, I would assume so," Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan said. "Obviously it was a pretty special night for Teemu and Saku. The crowd fed off them and the energy they brought, so I wouldn't expect anything less [for the Rangers] here."

The Ducks will also have the challenge of a short turnaround to contend with. New York played here last night, while Anaheim played in Helsinki and traveled afterwards.

This contest is at 7 p.m. after an 8 p.m. start Friday, though with the time change the games will start 24 hours apart. The Ducks who played against the Sabres did not skate this morning after a team meeting.

"It is challenging enough that we got to the hotel at 3:00 or 3:30 [a.m.], so obviously we're not really too fresh here this morning at 11:00," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think it is important that we have our rest here today, and that's the most important factor of the day in our preparation. You can't ask them to give you 110 percent if they're not rested. That's our mandate for the team today."

The Ducks will try to bounce back after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Sabres in Helsinki. Buffalo's strong defensive effort frustrated Anaheim, especially because the Ducks controlled the puck for long stretches in the final two periods but weren't able to generate much offense.

Anaheim's top line of Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in particular will look to get off the mark against the Rangers. That trio controlled the puck for long stretches, especially in the third period, but had little to show for it.

"There's different ways. I think they did a good job of collapsing low and taking away plays that our line is so good at," Ryan said of changes to make. "We had to get the puck high, and when you're shooting from the point and getting traffic things can happen, but a lot of times when they are boxing out like they were Ryan Miller is just going to eat those shots up. We've got find a way to spread them out some more and create some more room, but we we’re in there all night and couldn't find a way to crack Miller.

"Lundqvist is just as good, so we've got the spread them out and get more traffic right in front of him not just near him."

The Ducks got off to a slow start last season, dropping the first three games and eight of 12 to start the 2010-11 campaign. Not repeating that feat has been the reason for changing things up a bit this preseason -- beyond the obvious change of coming to Europe.

"Whenever you get down, and our team seems to have a lot of back-to-backs every year, when you get down and you're 0-1, certainly the intensity, the focus, the discipline -- whatever you want to call it -- they definitely go up a bit and it's what we missed in Game 1."

Added Carlyle: "I know our guys aren't happy with the way we played last night and some of the things we did. I know with this group I can trust that they'll have a better performance than we did last night."
Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:16 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Foster, Beleskey likely out of opener

HELSINKI -- Kurtis Foster and Matt Beleskey played Tuesday for the Anaheim Ducks against local club Jokerit, but it does not appear they will be in the lineup for the season-opener against the Buffalo Sabres (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

Foster and Beleskey were among the players taking part in the customary "scratches skate" after Anaheim's morning on-ice workout was complete. Brian McGrattan and Toni Lydman also were skating with the assistant coaches and No. 3 goaltender Jeff Deslauriers here at Hartwall Areena.

Beleskey, like Lydman, is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn laburm. Foster had surgery on his leg last month to repair the steel plate that was inserted when he broke that leg two seasons ago with Minnesota.

"I think both of them -- we played Foster and Beleskey in the exhibition game against Jokerit specifically for the reason if they didn't play in that game, then they wouldn't have a chance to play for us this weekend," Carlyle said. "I think now that they played in that game there is a possibility that we could use them tonight or tomorrow."

The Ducks obviously are looking for a better start to this season after winning just four of 12 (4-7-1) to begin last season. Earlier this week Carlyle, mentioned his team did less scrimmaging and spent more time practicing with the hopes of avoiding another slow start.

"It was paska," Carlyle said, using a Finnish word that translates -- politely -- to "garbage." "That's one of the things you always guard against. As a coach, if you had the answer at the time, it wouldn't be happening. All the time, you're searching for answers. The one thing we've tried to sell to our players that blocking a shot, taking a check to make a play, being on the defensive side of things -- this has to start from the first game of the season and not in January, where we seemed to come together as a group (last season)."

Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 8:27 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks ready to finally get back to playing

HELSINKI -- The Anaheim Ducks know they're going to have a lot of people in the audience cheering for them here at Hartwall Areena, and the Buffalo Sabres know this is going to be like a road game when the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games start Friday (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

The Sabres technically will be the home team, but expect a couple of Anaheim's players to receive the loudest cheers.

"I don't know why we're not -- we should be the home team," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said with a laugh. "We have more Finns than they do. It doesn't make sense that we're not the home team. Maybe we should write a letter."

In more serious business, it is time for just that for the Ducks. They have been in Helsinki for five days, and have been feted by fans from Helsinki and Anaheim alike.

Now it is time for the NHL regular season to start, and Friday's game counts just as much as one in Los Angeles or San Jose will in November or March.

"It is a little different because we're here in Finland playing the Buffalo Sabres," Carlyle said. "We've been here close to a week and we've enjoyed the country. They've opened up their arms and done everything possible to make it comfortable for us. It is an exciting time for Finnish players playing in their homeland and it is an exciting time for all of our players to finally get to play games. You can play all the exhibition games you want and have all the practices you want, but nothing compares to playing in an NHL game and that starts tomorrow night for us.

"We're putting it on the line -- these are points for the season. Points in October are much easier to get than they are in March. You look at the playoff races -- take last year for instance -- we had 99 points and we only made the playoffs by three. It is competitive. It is also like you're looking at getting 100 points to qualify for the playoffs and that is tough."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 9:12 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Easier day for Ducks

HELSINKI -- After two days of fairly intense practices and a preseason game upon arriving in Finland, Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle felt his team needed a bit of a break Wednesday.

The Ducks practiced at Hartwall Areena, an event that was open to fans, and the on-ice workout consisted of a lot 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 full-ice scrimmaging.

"With the schedule that we've been presented with, with the number of commitments and the people who have been pulling us in different directions with our players -- and we have another event today with our fans (who traveled from Anaheim) -- we felt after last night's game and the travel and the events that it was just a good day to have some fun," Carlyle said. "It was just kind of like going back to your roots, playing a little shinny and a little bit of pond hockey. It wasn't East-West, but it was U.S./European vs. Canada, and being a Canadian I have to say the Canadians kicked butt again today.

"I thought I put all the Europeans … they have all the skill on their side, but the Canadians came through today."

There were plenty of "ooh's" and "ahh's" from a crowd of about 1,000 fans, as all the open ice allowed the players to showcase some fancy stickhandling and passing skills. After one goal, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf attempted to re-create Teemu Selanne's famous celebration from his rookie season in Winnipeg, when he tossed his glove in the air and used his stick to "shoot" it down.

Getzlaf's effort didn’t go quite as well -- he tried to flip a glove in the air, but it came off his hand wrong and quickly fell to the ice. The crowd appreciated the nod to Selanne, though, and applauded him -- after they were done laughing.

"To me it is about the pulse of where your team is at and how they feel," Carlyle said of the lighter tone. "I know that in not even having to play there are some tired bodies, and it showed last night. It showed in some of the practices. We'll always push our players as far as we can, but it goes back to the old saying that you can't push if they don't have energy. You can't demand that 110 percent if they're not rested and not ready to give it to you. You're just beating a dead horse. We've been pulled in a lot of different directions, plus we're still trying to get over the jet lag, so we felt it was good to go, 'Whoa, whoa' today."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 9:07 AM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks reward fans' loyalty

HELSINKI -- Thousands of hockey fans from here in Finland crammed into Hartwall Areena to see the Anaheim Ducks play Tuesday, and they cheered at times in a way that made it feel almost like a home game for the club.

There were about 150 fans sitting together who did not have decide between rooting for the local team, Jokerit, or for Anaheim’s Finnish players, or both -- those fans are here from the Anaheim area.

"I think you could hear the 'Let's Go Ducks' chant once in a while, which was cool that they were cheering for us even though there were all the Helsinki fans in the stadium," Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller said. "It is great to have that support."

A Ducks team spokesman said the organization originally planned for 100 fans, but ended up with about 150 for the trip. The team helped organize a travel and ticket package for the fans, and also helped with some tourism activities once they got here.

As a reward for making the commitment of traveling about 5,600 miles, the Ducks had a reception for the fans with the players and coaching staff at Hartwall Areena after practice Wednesday. The fans were able to take pictures, get autographs and have lunch with the players in a restaurant/bar inside the arena sponsored by Karjala, which is a Finnish beer that is part of the Hartwall brewing company. The bar resembled a mine shaft, with wooden trusses and exposed rocks similar to the ones near the visiting dressing room.

"It is unbelievable. It really shows that we have some great fans, and they support us all over the world where ever we go," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "I remember when we went to London (to start the 2007-08 season) there was a few there, too, and it is just a good way to thank them for coming over and supporting us."
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 3:03 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks hold off Jokerit

HELSINKI -- Ryan Getzlaf scored the game-winner for the Anaheim Ducks as they held off Jokerit, 4-3, in overtime at Hartwall Areena. The puck came right to Getzlaf at the edge of the crease near the right post at 1:13 of the extra session.

The Ducks were outshot in the game 33-24, including a 27-16 advantage for Jokerit between the first intermission and the start of overtime.

Corey Perry had an assist on Getzlaf's goal and finished the game with 3 points.

Ben Eaves had a goal and an assist, and Ilari Filppula had a pair of assists for Jokerit.

Goalie Jonas Hiller made 30 saves for the Ducks, and coach Randy Carlyle praised him afterwards.

Carlyle also said defenseman Toni Lydman will not be available for either game this weekend. He was hoping to be back to play in his home country Friday of Finland for Friday's opener, but Carlyle said the team now is targeting the home opener next week against San Jose for Lydman, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in May.
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:23 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Late rally by Jokerit forces overtime

We're going to overtime here in Helsinki -- two goals from Jokerit made it 3-3 after 60 minutes.

Jokerit closed the gap to one goal again early in the third period. Ryan Getzlaf nearly scored at the other end, but Jokerit countered quickly and converted on an odd-man rush. Riku Hahl put home a rebound past Jonas Hiller. Teemu Pulkkinen made a nifty backhanded drop pass to open up the play.

Ben Eaves tied the game for Jokerit with 3:57 left in the third. He was just able to tuck a loose rebound past Hiller after a shot from Juhani Tyrvainen.

The final seconds of the period counted down with the Jokerit fans on their feet and chanting. It was quite a show from them in the final period after they realized the home team was going to make a game of this.
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:47 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Hiller shines as Ducks maintain two-goal lead

After carrying the play during the first period, it was the Ducks' turn to chase in the second. Jokerit settled in during the first half of the second period, and then flat out took control of the contest in the second 10 minutes of the period.

Carolina Hurricanes property Tommy Kivisto cut Anaheim's lead to 2-1 on a goal with 1:04 left in the middle period. Ilari Filppula -- Valtteri's older brother -- found Kivisto near the inside edge of the left circle and he beat Jonas Hiller to the far side. Jokerit had created several chances just before the goal, and could have scored on a 4-on-2 had they not attempted about three passes too many in a fun but ultimately fruitless exhibition of puck movement.

Anaheim's Cam Fowler restored the two-goal lead before the end of the period. Bobby Ryan sent a pass from the left corner to a wide-open Fowler at the top of the circles and he scored with 5.9 seconds left in the period. The Ducks maintained their advantage, but only because Hiller had a great period.
Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:02 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Perry's pair has Ducks up 2-0 after one period

The Anaheim Ducks lead Jokerit 2-0 after the first period thanks to a pair of goals from the last season's Hart Trophy winner, Corey Perry.

Perry scored twice for the Ducks. The first was set up by one of the local heroes playing for Anaheim -- center Saku Koivu. The second, a one-timer on the power play, came on a pass from the other Finnish legend on the Ducks' roster, Teemu Selanne.

Perry nearly scored a third in at the end of the period, but his shot beat Jokerit goaltender Eero Kilpelainen after the horn sounded for the end of the period.

Anaheim took four penalties in the first, but Jokerit were unable to take advantage. The Ducks dominated at even strength, but Jokerit had a few good chances against goaltender Jonas Hiller with the extra man.

Hiller made a brilliant save on a one-timer from Janne Lahti after a nifty pass in traffic from Teemu Pulkkinen, who is Jokerit’s leading scorer this season and a recent draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings.

Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 12:30 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Perry puts Ducks in front

Corey Perry put the Ducks in front 1-0 at the 6:12 mark of the first period. A Jokerit defenseman turned the puck over at the top of the circles and Saku Koivu was there to feed Perry in front of the net for a backhanded shot.

The Ducks killed off the first power-play chance of the game for Jokerit just before the goal. It was a pretty cool scene in here during the PP -- Jokerit fans clapped in unison any time the team had the puck in the offensive zone or were bringing it up the ice.
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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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