| “You lose one game, it’s only one game,” Marchant said. “If need be, we have six more games to get four wins. I’ve been in this situation before, certainly on this team. We’ve got guys in here who have played enough playoff games and have been down 1-0 in a playoff series that you know what to do." |
Just inside the doorway of the Ducks locker room at Honda Center is a sign mounted high on the left-hand wall above the first set of stalls. It's one of five signs that adorn the walls of the room, and never has its message been more appropriate than the morning after the Ducks' 4-0 loss to Dallas in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. It reads: “Maintain a positive attitude. Expect a lot of yourself and only accept your best. Don’t sulk or point fingers. Stay positive when things get tough”.
Not far away from that sign is a grease board that hangs adjacent to the widescreen television in the front of the room. Written on it in fresh black ink this morning was this quote: “It’s a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness”.
Meanwhile, spinning off from the inspirational t-shirts each of the Ducks wore during their Stanley Cup run a year ago, much of the team is sporting a new set of black shirts. In big capital letters is the word “FOCUS” with each letter spelling the words, “Faith, Opportunity, Courage, Unselfishness and Success.”
Starting with Game 2 tomorrow night, the Ducks know they must employ all of these beliefs if they are to dramatically change their fortunes from the series opener.
“We just have to completely throw [Thursday’s] game out,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “I think that’s one thing you do in the playoffs, you don’t dwell on things that happened. You turn the page and push forward.”
“We’ve got to go out and play a playoff game the way we can play. Everyone in this locker room knows they can be better. Everyone that was in that lineup knows they can play better hockey and it starts tomorrow.” - Todd Marchant
Todd Marchant echoed that sentiment in adding, “We weren’t very good, plain and simple. It’s over with. Today is a new day. We’ve moved on and we’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
Most of the Ducks players and coaches have been in similar playoff situations, either together with the Ducks or on other teams, and nobody is ready to hit the panic button in the best-of-seven series.
“You lose one game, it’s only one game,” Marchant said. “If need be, we have six more games to get four wins. That’s what it comes down to. I’ve been in this situation before, certainly on this team. We’ve got guys in here who have played enough playoff games and have been down 1-0 in a playoff series that you know what to do. You got to go out and play your game. You got to stick with it for 60 minutes.”
In unanimous agreement among the Ducks was the fact that they played well for the first 10 minutes of Game 1, during which they outshot the Stars 8-2. From that middle point of the first period though, Anaheim unraveled. Getting little offense while taking too many penalties, the Ducks surrendered four power play goals in the 30-minute span that followed.
“It troubles me that they took penalties,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran, a rookie, a sophomore, whatever you are, you cannot play without discipline. The discipline that we displayed, or lack of it, was evident throughout our lineup and not just in the penalty parade but in the decisions with the puck.”
| “We just have to completely throw [Thursday’s] game out,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “I think that’s one thing you do in the playoffs, you don’t dwell on things that happened. You turn the page and push forward.” |
Having a strong inclination prior the series that special teams (Dallas was 8-for-21 on the power play in five regular season wins over the Ducks and 0-for-15 with the man advantage in three losses) might dictate the outcome of any specific game, the Ducks were given a hard lesson in that holding true during Game 1.
“We talked about it before the series started that we had to play disciplined,” Marchant said. “We certainly didn’t do that in the first game. We just let it snowball and get out of control. We played right into their hands. When you give a team time and space, especially on the power play, they’re going to pick you apart. That’s something that obviously needs to be corrected and corrected in a hurry.”
Knowing as a whole they did not play anywhere near the capabilities they’ve shown in the past, the Ducks are ready to get back on track beginning on Saturday night.
“We’ve got to go out and play a playoff game the way we can play,” Marchant said. "Everyone in this locker room knows they can be better. Everyone that was in that lineup knows they can play better hockey and it starts tomorrow.”
Added Carlyle: “We can’t change what happened [Thursday] night, but we sure can make an impression for the next one. We understand the situation we’re in. We understand how we got there. Now, it’s up to us as a group to collectively climb out of the doldrums. That’s what our focus is. Turn the page and move forward.”
The Ducks forward groupings were once again reshuffled in Friday's practice, which may be a sign of things to come in Game 2. Skating with center Ryan Getzlaf
on the top line and wearing grey practice jerseys were Todd Bertuzzi and Bobby Ryan
on the wings. Skating back in the top six grouping was Doug Weight, clad in a white top, alongside Chris Kunitz and Teemu Selanne
. The third line of Travis Moen, Samuel Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer was unchanged and in orange. Donning purple on the fourth line were Ryan Carter, Brad May and Todd Marchant. Finally wearing the pomegranate colored tops were George Parros
, Brian Sutherby and Corey Perry
, whose limp appears to be slowly fading with each passing day.