There was some question whether the Ducks would hold a practice sandwiched between last night’s game with Detroit and the rematch with the Wings tomorrow evening. But there the Ducks were on the Honda Center ice this afternoon, led by a noticeably animated Bruce Boudreau.
The Ducks head coach was discouraged by a 5-1 loss to the Red Wings last night that was the first home defeat for Anaheim in 14 games, but he said that wasn’t the reason for today’s workout.
“It’s not because of the game last night, it’s because we haven’t had a chance to practice,” Boudreau said, reflecting on the NHL’s compact schedule. “It’s been a month straight where we haven’t had more than one day without a game, and we’ve still got another 18 days to go before we have more than one day off. Even last night, as bad as you played, you’re wondering if you should practice because you’ve got a game Sunday, Monday and Wednesday again. But I just thought it was good to get on the ice and work on some things.”
The loss was the first in regulation for the Ducks since February 25, after which Anaheim went on a torrid 9-0-3 stretch. And while Boudreau said that losing is “inevitable with the laws of nature and all of those things,” it didn’t make last night’s defeat any easier to swallow.
“You start the season and say, ‘I know we’re not going to win 82 this year’ but every time you lose, you’re still ticked off,” he said. “You want to win every game. You know it’s inevitable, but it doesn’t make you feel any better.”
Boudreau remarked that last night’s locker room was noticeably subdued after the game. “I did all of the talking after the game in the dressing room. It was a very somber room. We haven’t lost in this building since January 25. There was not a lot of music and clapping your hands and being happy. It was a time to reflect on why we got our butts kicked.”
Boudreau saw that postgame reaction from his players as a positive sign. “That’s a good feeling. It means your team doesn’t like to lose, and they’re determined to go out and do something about it,” he said of a Ducks team that’s still holding firmly to the second-best record in the NHL. “That’s hopefully the message. I don’t know if it’s going to work tomorrow, but I know they want to get back on track and play better, like they did against Chicago.”
The Ducks haven’t lost consecutive games since back-to-back shootout defeats in Phoenix on March 2 and 4. They haven’t lost two in a row in regulation at all this season. To keep that trend going, Boudreau said they need to make adjustments tomorrow night in the rematch with Detroit.
“You saw last night, anybody who thought the Detroit Red Wings were dead made a big mistake,” he said. “They play fast all the time, and if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do, they make you look bad.”