By Kyle Shohara
Saturday was a work day for the Ducks, who will look to raise their level of play in a pivotal Game 2 tomorrow night at Honda Center. To a man, the Ducks know they could be better – and that belief was evident throughout the locker room following practice today at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE.
It was an optional skate/maintenance day for a handful of Ducks, including forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and David Perron, and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen. Also not on the ice was defenseman Josh Manson, who made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut last night, but did not return after taking a high hit from Predators left wing Filip Forsberg in the closing moments of the first period.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau labeled Manson’s injury as “head and upper body” at this point. “I haven’t heard anything on the timeline, but I’ll probably know more about that tomorrow,” he added.
If Manson doesn’t play in Game 2, defenseman Kevin Bieksa could be an option. “He’s eligible to play. He’s possible to play,” said Boudreau, on his rugged blueliner. “If Manson doesn’t play, we have a choice of him or two other guys.”
Bieksa last played on March 24 at Toronto, but has been skating with the team for the past week. The 34-year-old would bring a veteran presence and physical element to the team, the latter seemingly lacking in Game 1.
“We can play better, and we know that,” Bieksa said. “It’s a lot easier to start on the road in the playoffs. There’s less pressure. You can make it into a boring game, which I thought they did in the first period. They didn’t do anything fancy. We have to respect the kind of team they are.”
Last night was a wake-up call for the Ducks, who today noted their lack of compete level in the opener.
“We have to be better in all areas of the game,” said Boudreau. “We have to compete harder. We weren’t good last night. When you’re used to playing – or seeing – a team play a certain way … we didn’t see that yesterday. I don’t know the reasoning behind it, but hopefully we’re better tomorrow.”
“We know we can play a lot better,” said Ducks right wing Jakob Silfverberg. “Last night wasn’t the way we were supposed to be playing. We have to get our legs moving. We had a pretty good read on them, but it was a matter of us not executing [the game plan].
“We knew coming into this series it was going to be tough,” said Silfverberg. “We’re not going to win every game. It’s tough losing the first game at home, but it was a good feel for tomorrow. Guys are going to be hungry tomorrow.”