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Anaheim Ducks shake off false sense of security heading into playoffs

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 2:05 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Anaheim Ducks shake off false sense of security heading into playoffs

VANCOUVER - They have a lot of wins to their credit this season but the Anaheim Ducks know they haven't really won anything yet.

Sometimes a successful regular season can lull a team into a false sense of security heading into the NHL playoffs. Anaheim defenceman Sheldon Souray says that isn't a problem for the Ducks.

"We've kind of already refocused," Souray said after the Ducks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 Thursday night.

"We have some goals. We've achieved one. Now it's time to get to the next one. We're a focused group, a committed group. We'll keep marching on."

Defenceman Francois Beauchemin said the Ducks don't care who they meet in the playoffs. They fear each team equally.

"We don't want to start hoping for a team to play against us," said Beauchemin, a member of the 2007 Anaheim team that won the Stanley Cup.

"As we saw last year anybody can beat anybody. The (Los Angeles) Kings just made it in the last couple of days and they won the Stanley Cup."

The Ducks have 66 points from a 30-11-6 record, leaving them with the third-best record in the NHL. They are 23-9-5 for 51 points in their last 37 games.

Anaheim had a franchise record 13-game home-winning streak from Jan. 26 to March 20. A 13-5-5 road record for 31 points is tied for the best road start to a season in club history

The Ducks head into the playoffs having beaten the Presidents' Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks three times this season. Anaheim also has lost to non-playoff teams like the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche.

"We had a little bit of a slump a couple of weeks ago," said Beauchemin. "We got out of it lately with a few good games on the road."

Coach Bruce Boudreau said the four-game losing streak the Ducks suffered through in March was a result of holding a 14-point lead in the Pacific Division but still knowing they couldn't catch the Blackhawks.

"It was like the February of an 80-game season," he said. "Now you're getting close to the playoffs, so you want to ramp it up a bit and play the way you are capable of playing."

The Ducks went into the game against Vancouver with the Pacific Division title wrapped up and the second seed in the West secured. Boudreau decided to rest veterans like Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Ryan Getzlaf.

If the Canucks were expecting to sleep walk through the game they were quickly woken up when Vancouver was outshot 25-9 after two periods and trailed 2-0 on goals by Matt Beleskey and Brad Staubitz.

"It was nice to get in the game, get some playing time," said Staubitz, who scored his first goal of the season after sitting out 11 of the Ducks' last 13 games.

Boudreau wasn't surprised by the way his team responded.

"Our guys played pretty hard but that's what usually happens if you look at history," he said. "The young guys come up from the American Hockey League and overachieve.

"The other team usually, for at least a period or two, says, 'oh, look who they've got. They don't have this guy and this guy,' and they don't focus as well. I think that's what happened a little bit."

Andrew Cogliano scored the other Duck goal into an empty net while Anaheim was killing off a late penalty.

Jason Garrison scored on a power play for Vancouver.

Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares