For as much success as the Ducks have had in the last half of a decade, the team has had its share of struggles in season openers.
|"Discipline is a huge factor for us," Selanne said. "That’s one area where we have to take more time. I think last night we were just undisciplined, but we’re going to fix it.”” |
Last night’s 4-1 loss at San Jose was the third time in the last five seasons the Ducks have begun a year with that specific result (also suffering 4-1 losses on the road to start 2007-08 and 2003-04). Last year the Ducks had to play a second game in London and then three in Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh before opening at home. The good news for the 2008-09 Ducks is they get a chance to quickly turn things around with five straight games in Southern California (four in Anaheim, one in Los Angeles) beginning with Sunday’s home opener against Phoenix.
“It will be nice to play in front of our home fans and get back to our rink,” Chris Kunitz said. “We have to get our game going, turn the corner, and start playing a little better.”
Chief among the Ducks’ concerns in their return from the Silicon Valley was their inability to stay out of the penalty box yet again. The NHL’s most penalized team the last two seasons, the Ducks went to the bin seven times against the Sharks, five alone in a game-changing second period.
“I would love to have five PPs in a row in the second period,” Teemu Selanne said. “You know you’d have a good chance to win the game. Discipline is a huge factor for us. That’s one area where we have to take more time.”
During practice at Anaheim ICE on Friday, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle told his team to turn its attention away from the striped skaters on the ice.
“Our focus cannot go to the officials in those situations,” Carlyle said. “We were responsible for our actions. We played very well under our capabilities and lacked the passion that is necessary to have success.”
There were a few positives amid the teal haze in San Jose. Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s 37 saves single-handedly kept the game from getting out of hand. But Giguere, like his coach,
was critical of the team's discipline.
| “It will be nice to play in front of our home fans and get back to our rink,” said Chris Kunitz (right, with Brendan Morrison). “We have to get our game going, turn the corner, and start playing a little better.” |
"We like to play on the edge, and I love that we play that way," Giguere said. "At the same time, we need to keep our mouths shut and stop yapping at the officials. We have to take it upon ourselves to be more disciplined."Rob Niedermayer’s deflection off a Steve Montador shot in the third period gave the Ducks their first goal of the season and stopped Evgeni Nabokov’s shutout bid.
“We tried to get something going,” Selanne said. “That is always a good sign. This level, especially against good teams like the Sharks, you have to be able to play 60 minutes. I think last night we were just undisciplined, but we’re going to fix it.”
Notes: Ducks defenseman Nathan McIver has been granted a U.S. work visa and will be flying into Orange County tonight. Carlyle said that if everything goes as anticipated, McIver should participate in practice on Saturday to give the team seven available defensemen.