|“It’s against two opponents that we’re chasing,” Perry said. “You win both and it’s four points. You never know where that can put you at the end of the day. They are probably the two biggest games of the year right now.” |
Amid a grueling schedule of games, practice time has been hard to come by for the Anaheim Ducks.
In a rare opening on the docket, the Ducks took to the Honda Center ice on Thursday in preparation for a critical back-to-back set against Calgary and Los Angeles – two teams fighting with Anaheim for a coveted playoff spot. Each of the teams is among six separated by just seven points between 8th and 13th place in the Western Conference.
“It’s against two opponents that we’re chasing,” said Corey Perry
of the back-to-back, which will conclude five games in seven nights for the Ducks. “You win both and it’s four points. You never know where that can put you at the end of the day. They are probably the two biggest games of the year right now.”
Offense was a point of emphasis on Thursday at the club’s home rink. In dropping consecutive games in regulation for the first time since a three-game slide Dec. 29-Jan. 4, Anaheim has been outscored 6-1 in its last two games. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau hopes the practice drills help his team’s offense get out of neutral.
“What we were trying today is shooting drills and getting guys going to the net,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know too many more things you can do. Hopefully, they start scoring in practice and they get confidence in scoring. We haven’t scored an even strength goal in two games. We’re not allowing more than two goals a game. If we scored three goals a game in the last 10 games, we would probably be 10-0.”
Boudreau also spent some time working with the power play units on Thursday. During February, a month the Ducks went 8-4-3 in, the team went 7-for-53 (13.2 percent) with the man-advantage. With games increasingly being closer around the league, capitalizing on any mistakes by opponents only becomes that much greater.
|“Right now, it’s just a like a playoff game,” Selanne said. "We are expecting there are not going to be many mistakes. They are going to be low-scoring games and little things are going to make the difference. We just have to do things right and have a solid 60 minutes. Good teams find a way to do it.” |
“I control the power play,” Boudreau said. “Brad (Lauer) and Bob (Woods) take care of the penalty killing. It’s something I’ve done my whole life. When it starts going bad, you really get sleepless nights. “
At this point in the season, the Ducks no there is no rest for the weary. The club opens the crucial back-to-back tomorrow night at Honda Center against the Flames, who Anaheim has beaten a franchise record 14 straight times at home.
From there, the Ducks will make the short 30-mile drive to Staples Center for the fifth installment of the Freeway Face-Off rivalry. “Right now, it’s just a like a playoff game,” said Teemu Selanne
of playing the Kings. They are in a better position than we are. They have to battle too. We are expecting there not going to be many mistakes. They are going to be low-scoring games and little things are going to make the difference. The same thing goes for tomorrow. We just have to do things right and have a solid 60 minutes. Good teams find a way to do it.”
Said Perry, “You want to play games all the time, get in that rhythm and keep going. When you are playing every night, it’s tough on your body, but you battle through it, go out there and keep playing. We need the points. That is what we’re looking at.”