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Home Improvement

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

AnaheimDucks.com

“It’s nice to have a homestand right in the middle of the year, when every point is going to be huge,” Ryan said. “It was a tough, long road trip. It’s nice to come home, nice to be away from the road and hopefully get some matchups in our favor.”
A season-long seven consecutive road games now behind them, the Ducks got back to work at Honda Center on a wet Wednesday morning.

Anaheim (19-17-4) finished off the road trip on a positive note, with last night’s 3-1 victory over the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. That left the club with a 3-4-0 record during their long trek, which began in Washington on Dec. 15.

Beginning a stretch of six games in a row at home now, the Ducks hope to build on last night’s performance. After one-on-one player meetings Monday that addressed a number of issues, the club self-admittedly came out with more grit against the Coyotes and helped themselves with a three-goal lead after 20 minutes of play.

Ducks comment on being at home and more

“It’s a momentum that we want to ride,” Bobby Ryan said. “We got productions from a bunch of different lines. Hopefully, that gives a morale boost. It’s always nice to come back into a home building that is going to be excited to see us as well. “

Defenseman Luca Sbisa, who tallied his first career goal to start the scoring, said of last night, “We did a couple different things with the way we prepared ourselves. There were a lot of emotions in the room before the game.”

Sbisa pointed to a big stop by goalie Jonas Hiller early in the game that got the Ducks going. “Hillsy had a huge save 30 seconds into the game on that 2-on-0. You have to know how to handle it. We responded really quickly. Early goals help. It’s always good to have three goals going into the second period.”

Whether center Ryan Getzlaf is available to begin this homestand remains up in the air, as the Ducks captain was not at the rink for practice. The 25-year-old center sustained a gruesome cut to his forehead after being hit by a Shane Doan shot that deflected off Cam Fowler’s stick in the second period last night. He was immediately helped off the ice by team trainer Tim Clark and needed 12-15 stitches to close up the wound, according to coach Randy Carlyle.

“He got the puck directly between his eyes,” Carlyle said. “There is quite a gash there. He had bleeding into nasal cavity and felt nauseous at times with it because of the blood draining into his stomach.

“It’s better that he stays still here for awhile and soaks that forehead with as much ice as he can possibly tolerate. He should get his rest and that really should start the healing process.”

“He got the puck directly between his eyes,” Carlyle said of Getzlaf. “He had bleeding into nasal cavity and felt nauseous at times with it because of the blood draining into his stomach. It’s better that he stays still here for awhile and soaks that forehead with as much ice as he can possibly tolerate."
Helping fill Getzlaf’s void at center was Ryan, who has been seeing time at the position for the past two games. In Los Angeles and early on in Phoenix, he was on a line with rookie Brandon McMillan and Joffrey Lupul. After the injury, Ryan was moved to center the top line with Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey.

The thought of having Ryan, who has played either right or left wing all of his career, at center is one that dates back to the end of last season and heated up during training camp. It was ultimately put on the back burner until now.

“We were left with that option when you try to put together groups that are going to go out and check and play safe,” Carlyle said. “Our guys did a pretty good job of that in the third period, especially down a player like Getzlaf for over half of the game. Bobby went out there and was much better in that position than he was the night before.”

While admitting he is still not fully at ease in the position, Ryan does agree that he is making strides. “I’m getting there and starting to figure some things out,” he said. “Whether that is the lines on Friday or not, remains to be seen. I’m comfortable no matter what and playing with whomever. Generally, I think I’ve proven that I can score with anybody around me. Going back to Pears or playing with Joffrey and McMillian, I think I’ll come into my own here.”

The only team in the NHL with 40 games played to this point, the Ducks will see matters unfold in their own building over the next six games. In a tight Western Conference and another long road trek (eight out of nine road games from Jan. 18-Feb. 13) on the horizon, securing as many points as possible during this homestand will be crucial.

“It’s nice to have a homestand right in the middle of the year, when every point is going to be huge,” Ryan said. “It was a tough, long road trip. It’s nice to come home, nice to be away from the road and hopefully get some matchups in our favor.”
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