The origin for Anaheim’s strong recent homestand actually came approximately 350 miles to the east in Arizona.
|“We’ve been forging our identity,” Sutton said. “There is a lot of consistency to our play. Now we have to take the way we’ve been playing at home on the road and put it to the test.” |
Two and a half weeks ago at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale the Ducks held player meetings on following a tough 4-1 road loss to the Kings. The club was just one game over the .500 mark at the time and still in search of itself. Following those talks, Anaheim went out and bested the Coyotes the next night by a score of 3-1.
Seventeen days later, the Ducks headed back to the Valley of the Sun this afternoon as a much different, more confident team this time around. It’s a direct result of the team returning to Anaheim following that road win over the Coyotes and winning five out of six games on a lengthy homestand.
“We’ve been forging our identity,” Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton said. “I think that is why we’ve had such great success. There is a lot of consistency to our play. Now we have to take the way we’ve been playing at home on the road and put it to the test.”
In the last seven games overall, the Ducks have combined to outscore their opponents by a margin of 25-12 and are playing more closely to the system put in place by Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle and his coaching staff.
“We’ve been scoring a lot of goals because we’re getting on the forecheck and wearing teams down,” said recently named All-Star Corey Perry
, who leads the Ducks in goals (22) and points (47). “We have to continue that success on the road.”
While they have the most home wins (16) in the NHL, finding consistency on the road has been hard for the Ducks to come by so far this season. They have just an 8-11-3 record when traveling and have only posted consecutive road wins once thus far.
|"You can see we have some swagger and we are having some fun out on the ice," Fowler said. "We just have to keep it going.” |
But a closer look at the schedule will show that the team has not been quite as bad as that road record suggests. After the four straight road losses the team endured to start the season, Anaheim is one game over. 500 in opposing buildings since.
The Ducks have also had success in 2010-11 playing at Phoenix. Along with that win on Dec. 28, Anaheim came away with a 6-4 victory there on Nov. 27. That one put an end to the club’s season-long six-game losing streak.
“Every time we go in there, we are just well prepared,” said rookie defenseman Cam Fowler
. “It helps to see them as often as we do. We know each other’s tendencies. Tomorrow is higher stakes than it has been earlier in the season. Both teams are going to be confident, but somebody has to go down eventually.”
Coming through for a string of wins has momentum on the Ducks side at the moment and they are in no hurry to see that go away, regardless of going back on the road. “Guys are feeling good about themselves,” Fowler said. “We’ve been able to put up some goals and guys have been getting their points. Nobody in this locker room is going to talk about their individual success. It’s all about the team. You can see we have some swagger and we are having some fun out on the ice. We just have to keep it going.”