By Kyle Shohara
|"Any time you have the opportunity like that, you definitely want to take advantage of it. You don't want to let something like that slip away." -- Cam Fowler, on potentially clinching a playoff berth tonight
The Ducks had a little extra jump in their step this morning as they prepared for tonight’s tilt against the visiting Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m.
Anaheim can clinch a postseason berth with a win or an overtime/shootout loss tonight, which would be the sixth trip to the playoffs in the last eight years.
Both Nick Bonino and Ryan Getzlaf (each suffering from lower body injuries) were on the ice this morning. Bonino’s skate was brief, but Getzlaf went through the entire session. When asked about his status for tonight’s game, he smiled and said, “We’ll know come puck drop.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau added “It’s a game-time decision. He’s taking warm up. He feels good. What else can you say? He wants to play, he feels like he’s capable of playing. He said ‘I can skate, I can shoot.’ We’ll see how it goes.”
Bonino has been on the ice for two consecutive days now, and Boudreau says the forward “feels really good, but it’s just the timetable we’re taking him on.” Boudreau also says the goal is to get Bonino some game action before the postseason begins.
Goaltender Jonas Hiller was the first off the ice and is expected to get the start in goal.
Sheldon Souray, who was a healthy scratch in Anaheim’s previous game, was on the ice and is good to go, according to Boudreau.
FACING THE AVS
Boudreau: “They’re a very dangerous team especially with what [Giguere] said the other day. They’ll be ramped up to play. That’s the respect he has in the room. It’s going to be a tough game. It’s never easy playing Colorado.”
Cam Fowler: “They haven’t had the season they would’ve liked, but they still have a lot of skill over there. On any given night, anyone can beat anybody in this league. We need to make sure we’re ready for it. We know there’s a lot on the line for us, and so do they. We’re all NHLers and professionals here, so they’re going to give it 100%. We need to be ready.”
Fowler, on potentially clinching a playoff berth tonight: “Any time you have the opportunity like that, you definitely want to take advantage of it. You don’t want to let something like that slip away. We’ve been preaching consistency throughout the year, and part of being an elite team is bringing the same effort night in and night out no matter who you’re playing. We want to prove to ourselves we can do that.”
GROWTH OF ETEM
Despite being 20 years old, Emerson Etem has shown maturity on and off the ice, and Boudreau has taken notice.
“I thought he would have a solid year in the American [Hockey] League and see how he would be next year as a part-time guy almost, and by the third year he’d be really good,” said Boudreau. “But he’s accelerated the way he plays. He’s been a full-time guy here for the last ex amount of games.
“Sheldon Souray said the other day, he pointed to Emerson and said, ‘There’s not too many like him anymore,’ meaning a young kid that comes up and is like a sponge. He takes it all in and does whatever you want him to do. No complaints. He’s not a prima donna. He’s the real deal of a young man.
“With [Etem], every place we’ve put him it’s in a position where he’s still capable of scoring goals. That’s why we have the four lines going all the time. He’s never harped one negative word about ‘I’m playing here or I’m playing there.’ It’s just like, ‘Put me in coach. I want to play.’”
Perry – Lombardi – Ryan
Palmieri – Holland – Selanne
Cogliano – Koivu – Winnik
Beleskey – Steckel – Etem
Souray – Beauchemin
Fowler – Lovejoy
Allen – Sbisa