There were no visible signs of frustration left on the faces of the Ducks at practice on Thursday at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE. Those were all left behind in the postgame locker room last night.
|"Today was a lot better," said Getzlaf of Thursday's practice. "We had a meeting before we went out there. The fact is, things have to change. That is the main thing. We have to be focused at practice and we’ll take it into the games from there.” |
Instead there was renewed energy among the team and a heightened pace to the practice, as the Ducks try to rebound from two straight sluggish performances before their home crowd.
“Today was a lot better,” Ryan Getzlaf
said. “We had a meeting before we went out there. The fact is, things have to change. That is the main thing. We have to be focused at practice and we’ll take it into the games from there.”
Among the bright spots from the defeat was Getzlaf’s first goal of the season in the second period and his subsequent play in the final period. It was a good sign to see from the two-time All-Star, who only had three points in his first seven games.
“It’s a starting point,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle of his first-line center, who led the team in scoring each of the past two seasons. “He had shifts in the third period that were very Getzlaf-like. That is really what we need from the opening faceoff.”
Said Getzlaf, “It helped a little bit. The fact that it wasn’t just a garbage goal was good. I actually took the puck and handled it. That is only going to give me more confidence going forward.”
It wasn’t just Getzlaf who looked sharper in the final 20 minutes against Dallas, as the whole team looked more like the high-powered group they are expected to be. That nearly was enough, as Anaheim cut a three-goal lead down to one in the third period before Steve Ott’s empty-netter squelched the comeback bid. The team’s mission is to put forth that effort for a full contest.
|"We’re a playoff team," Ryan said. "We’re a team that we feel can be in the upper echelon in the Western Conference. We certainly haven’t showed that because those teams are the ones that find a way to win at home and we’ve done that only once.” |
“We have to be better mentally focused before the game,” said James Wisniewski, who felt good playing a game-high 27:21 in his return to the Anaheim lineup from a shoulder injury. “We have a lot of firepower up front, but we can’t just turn it on for one period and try to pull out wins. You have to play a full 60-minute game and just dominate, especially in our own building. We’ve been outscored 9-2 in our last two games in our home building. That is just unacceptable.”
One of the stronger teams in their own building from 2005-2008 (combined 80-25-18 record in three seasons), the Ducks took a step back at Honda Center last season with a 20-18-3 mark. They hoped to reverse back to their old habits in 2009-10, but so far have been stuck in neutral, with a 1-3-0 record to begin the year. But there is more than enough time left to get things turned around the way they want.
“I don’t think there is anything you can put your finger other than maybe some sort of complacency,” Bobby Ryan
said. “That is unacceptable. We’re a playoff team. We’re a team that we feel can be in the upper echelon in the Western Conference. We certainly haven’t showed that because those teams are the ones that find a way to win at home and we’ve done that only once.”
|“Right now, we have to start back at square one.” Wisniewski said. “We have two days. We had a great practice today, probably the best practice we’ve had all year. It’s time to turn it around and come back Saturday against Columbus.” |
To try to stimulate their team’s performance back to a winning level, the Ducks raised the bar at practice on Wednesday. There was a quicker pace to the action, noticeable to throughout the rink. “I noticed it right off the bat today, everybody was a little quicker and sharper,” Ryan said. “Those are things that certainly carry over. We had a meeting beforehand and addressed some of the things. We’ve yet to come out and really establish dominance right off the bat, right from the get-go and that is something the room has to improve on.”
The Ducks will see if they can turn things around beginning Saturday against a Blue Jackets club that got off to a franchise-best 5-1-0 start to their season before a 6-3 loss at Calgary on Tuesday.
“Right now, we have to start back at square one.” Wisniewski said. “We have two days. We had a great practice today, probably the best practice we’ve had all year. It’s time to turn it around and come back Saturday against Columbus.”