Another quirk in the schedule has the Ducks and Oilers waiting an extra day before getting back at it. This happened between Games 3 and 4 and the Ducks seized the opportunity by retreating to the comforts of Kelowna, British Columbia for some rest, relaxation and a little bit of work.
It paid off, as the Ducks returned to Edmonton and pulled off an overtime victory to tie this best-of-seven series, 2-2. The same thing happened in 2015 when the Ducks temporarily took up residence in the mountain resort town of Banff, Alberta between Games 3 and 4 in Calgary, and it resulted in a win. The Ducks took care of business at home in Game 5 to win the series.
And so here we are again, on the second full day between games, but this time there won't be any second chances. In a series many pegged to go the distance, it comes down to a do-or-die Game 7 for a chance to advance to the Western Conference Final and host the Nashville Predators.
Much has been made of Anaheim's previous Game 7 (and Game 6) shortcomings, a dark cloud that has hovered over the team for the past four years. However, with a new season comes change and a fresh mindset. Adversity - and the ability to handle it and overcome it - hardens and prepares teams for moments like these. The Ducks have had plenty of it all season. So instead of coming to the rink yesterday thinking about the past and answering the inevitable questions that naturally come with it, the players stayed away. It was a full day off for them to clear their minds and come back mentally fresh today. The only difference, of course, was this time it happened to be at home.
"Any time you get a chance to do that, it's a good thing," said Jakob Silfverberg. "Kind of like what we did in Edmonton when we went to Kelowna for a few days just to rest your mind for a little bit. In the playoffs, it is as tough mentally as it is physically. It was a perfect day for us. We came back here today and worked on some things to get us ready for tomorrow."
Head coach Randy Carlyle today joked with reporters, telling them he used the full day off to "lay on the couch" for some relaxation.
"When you battle and play every second day [for extended periods of time], everybody gets beat up a little bit," Carlyle went on to say. "You just don't seem to ever get an escape from anything. It's like a refresher when you can step away from the game for a day and not come to the rink. You need some time just to kick back and relax."
The proof will ultimately be in the pudding tomorrow night. Silfverberg says the trials and tribulations this team has gone through over the course of the season and playoffs will help them tomorrow night when everything is on the line.
"We've had rough stretches throughout the year that we've been able to bounce back from," he said. "We've had some tough breaks in the playoffs that we learned a lot from. This is an experienced group that has been through a lot. It's going to be a tough game mentally and physically, but I think we have the experience to handle it."
Nate Thompson was given a maintenance day and did not skate this morning, but the veteran center is an option tomorrow, according to Carlyle. In his place on the fourth line was Sam Carrick, recalled from the San Diego Gulls earlier in the day. Carrick had four points (2g/2a) and 12 penalty minutes in seven AHL Calder Cup Playoff games with San Diego prior to his recall.
Kevin Bieksa (lower body) skated on his own prior to practice and is "progressing much more rapidly than we ever expected," Carlyle said to reporters. His status remains day to day.
Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Logan Shaw (lower body) did not practice.
Video: Ducks discuss their rest day and respond to adversity