DALLAS -- During the regular season, the Anaheim Ducks had the second-best road record in the NHL (25-12-4). And the Ducks, who lead their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars 2-0, want to carry that success away from Honda Center into the
Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau knows if the Ducks are to take a 3-0 series lead by winning Game 3 at American Airlines Center on Monday night (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21), they will have to weather an early storm from what should be a fired-up Stars team playing its first home playoff game in six years.
"I think they're going to come out pretty hard. There's no doubt about that," Boudreau said. "We just got to play the way we're capable of playing. It's going to be a hostile environment for sure."
Ducks right wing Corey Perry is happy with where he and his teammates sit right now. However, he knows there is considerable room for improvement after they nearly blew a 4-0 lead in Game 1 and a 3-1 advantage in Game 2.
"We watched some video [Sunday]. We can be better. We know that," Perry said. "We sat back on our heels in Game 2 and we tried to protect the lead instead of attacking and playing our game. You can't do that in the playoffs. Teams are just going to keep coming at you in waves and they did that the other night."
But Perry, who is tied for second on the Ducks with two points in the series, knows that keeping their foot in the gas can sometimes be tough because human nature is to let up a bit once a team gets a big lead, something he and his teammates must always guard against.
"Yeah, naturally you're going to sit back and you're going to try to protect the lead," Perry said. "It's hard because we talk about it between periods, don't sit back, don't sit back. But when you get out there, it's just in your nature to do that. If you're playing your game, still attacking and getting the puck in deep, you're going to be alright."
For a number of Anaheim players, Monday will mark their first taste of playoff hockey on the road. Perry has experienced it on numerous occasions and offered some sage advice to his younger teammates about what to expect in Dallas.
"You've just got to be able to hold off their pressure and their attack for the first 10 minutes, let everybody calm down and the emotions relax a little bit," Perry said. "It's just hockey. That's all it is. You go out and just do the things that you normally do and it's alright."
One thing Boudreau would not like to see a repeat of in Game 3 is Perry heading to the penalty box early in the first period. Perry took a slashing penalty early in Game 2 on Stars captain Jamie Benn that led to Dallas taking an early lead when Alex Chiasson scored on the power play, a play the Ducks coach would rather not see again.
"We don't want Corey Perry in the penalty box. I'm sure he'd like to go after guys, and him and Ryan (Getzlaf) during the regular season have, but this is the time where courage is being able to suck one up and take a punch to the head and keep going," Boudreau said.