By Kyle Shohara
|"[The fans] have been awesome. They're very supportive and it seems like every game we get the people here who really enjoy the hockey and support us." -- Andrew Cogliano
The Ducks held their final morning skate of the regular season, in preparation for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center.
After being sent back to Orange County during Anaheim’s four-game road trip due to illness, Bobby Ryan was back on the ice on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Radek Dvorak, who is one game shy of 1,200 in his career, is expected to play tonight on a line with David Steckel and Devante Smith-Pelly.
Viktor Fasth was the first goaltender off the ice and figures to get the start tonight.
Forwards Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri were not on the ice this morning, though it remains to be seen whether they’ll be in tonight’s lineup.
FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT
Throughout this season, Ducks players have commented on how much of a boost the fans give them inside Honda Center. With tonight being Fan Appreciation Night, forward Andrew Cogliano wants to make sure the Ducks finish the regular season the right way heading into the postseason.
“It’s always good to get one more game before the playoffs and salute the fans for the season,” said Cogliano. “[The fans] have been awesome. They’re very supportive and it seems like every game we get the people here who really enjoy the hockey and support us.
“We just want to finish [the regular season] the right way and play our system to how we’ve been playing the last couple of games. You want to keep moving forward and you don’t want to take any steps back. It’s a big game for us in terms of getting ourselves in the right framework for the playoffs.”
Luca Sbisa has missed the last five games due to a lower body injury and gave an update to the media after today’s skate.
“As of right now, we decided not to force it too much,” Sbisa said. “Just take it easy and make sure everything works for the first game [of the playoffs]. Just be ready for the first game.
“I would say we’re not reaching for anything. It’s been going on for a while now. I tried to skate a bit, but I think it was too much too soon. We had to take a couple steps back, but we did that because we wanted to make sure I’m not going to miss the first game. I think we’re looking at a pretty good chance.”
On what’s preventing him from playing: “It’s just the pain. It’s one of those things, like everything lower body, you’ve got to use every single time. You have to do certain movements. If I can’t do that at the fullest, I just can’t play at the fullest. I’m not really helping the team out.”
Bruce Boudreau, on Sbisa: “He’s practicing tomorrow. If all goes well, he’ll practice Monday with us, and if all goes well again, we’ll see where it goes. We want to make sure he’s healthy.”
‘WE WANT TO BE IN THE MOMENT’
Boudreau: “We want to continue what we’ve been doing. We don’t want to, all of a sudden, play what we think are three pretty good games and then just have a meaningless game, and play like it’s a meaningless game. When that happens, you usually get hurt.
“You’ve got to stay in the moment. Right now, we want to be in the moment. The morning skate was good and we’ll have two practices before [the playoffs]. We want to stay in that feeling. You don’t want to get out of it because sometimes it’s too hard to get it back.
“I just want us to play solidly. I don’t want the laziness. What happens sometimes in situations is now instead of doing stops and starts, you’re doing circles. That becomes a habit and bad habits are hard to break.”
Ryan – Getzlaf – Perry
Maroon – Bonino – Selanne
Cogliano – Koivu – Winnik
Dvorak – Steckel – Smith-Pelly
Souray – Beauchemin
Fowler – Lovejoy
Allen – Lydman