|“It’s always nice to come home and be in a comfortable setting," Getzlaf said. "You are in your own locker room, building and have your fans. We have to use that to our advantage tomorrow night.” |
Fresh off a sweep of its four-game road trip, Anaheim returned to practice in the friendly confines of Honda Center on Tuesday in anticipation of tomorrow night’s tilt with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
Having won six consecutive games on the road and 14 of their last 18 overall, the Ducks simply want to keep momentum on their side when they take the ice in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks.
“Things are going well,” said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf
, who returned last week after not having played since December 28 with facial fractures. “We are working hard and getting things done. It’s not always pretty every night. We’re doing a good job of winning in different ways so far.
“It’s always nice to come home and be in a comfortable setting. You are in your own locker room, building and have your fans. We have to use that to our advantage tomorrow night.”Ducks talk about their recent success
Getzlaf hasn't played at Honda Center since December 12, and Wednesday will also be the first home game for Francois Beauchemin
since being re-acquired by the team in a trade with Toronto last week. Already two games into his second act with the Ducks, the defenseman is happy to be back into the building he played so frequently in from 2005-2009.
“It’s always good to be back in the building and practicing,” said Beauchemin, who amassed 88 points in 234 games and won a Stanley Cup during his first stint with Anaheim. “The identity is the same. We are a physical, fast team and solid defensively.”
Appearing in the playoffs in each of those four seasons with the Ducks, Beauchemin found team success a little harder to come by in Toronto. The Maple Leafs finished last in the Eastern Conference one season ago and currently sit 12th out of the 15 teams in 2010-11.
By virtue of the trade, Beauchemin was immediately thrust back into the familiar scenario of a playoff race. “It’s really exciting,” he says. “It’s always easier when you win and things are a lot looser. We had a great start and we want to keep it going here at home. Personally, I felt good. It’s only going to get better as the time goes on.”
Along with Beauchemin, the team continues to take the uncommon approach of carrying nine defensemen and playing seven of them in the game. It has worked well for the Ducks so far, as they have won both games – against Calgary and Edmonton. Carlyle, a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, says the more help you can have on the back end, the better.
|“It’s always good to be back in the building,” said Beauchemin, who was re-acquired by the Ducks last week. “The identity is the same. We are a physical, fast team and solid defensively.” |
“It’s very rare that you would have nine NHL defensemen on your roster at this point,” Carlyle said. “Sometimes you don’t have enough and when you have a wealth of them, it’s a pain at times. You’d rather have too many than too little.”
If the Anaheim blue line once again contains seven members tomorrow night, the task will be to slow down Ovechkin. The two-time Hart Trophy winner, who is tied for 10th in the league with 56 points, has enjoyed success in Orange County during his two previous visits.
As a rookie in January 2006, he led Washington to victory with a hat trick (the only goals for the Capitals that night and the last one being an OT game-winner). In November 2008, he enjoyed a four-point night in 6-4 Capitals victory.
“You just have to pay a little special attention to him when he’s out there,” Beauchemin said. “He’s dangerous, fast and can score goals. You don’t want to be caught pinching or trying to cheat offensively. When he’s out there, you want to make sure everybody is back and have the middle covered.”
Another key point in the game will be if the Ducks can continue to grab an early lead, as they have done in each of the last four games. When the Ducks score first, they have a .947 winning percentage (ranked second in the league, behind only Philadelphia at .950).
“We’ve been able to score some goals very early and in first shifts,” Carlyle said. “We just want to make sure we’re a hockey club that is prepared once that puck is dropped. That is a tribute to our players and their focus, going out, executing and performing at the level early on in the hockey game.”