By Kyle Shohara
The center of the hockey universe has converged upon Honda Center, and, no, we’re not talking about Ducks goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. What is normally a spacious Ducks locker room became cramped quarters filled Toronto reporters, as the Ducks and Maple Leafs close out their season series tonight in Anaheim.
The tale of the tape hasn’t been pretty for Anaheim, which enters tonight’s game on a six-game losing streak overall vs. Toronto, including three straight at Honda Center. The head-to-head record all-time isn’t pretty, either, as Anaheim has won just nine times in 35 tries.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf says his team has had good practices as of late, which he hopes bodes well for tonight’s contest. “We’ve been able to focus on the forecheck, and getting the puck out of our zone clean because you have to against a team like [Toronto].”
The Leafs have no problem playing an up-tempo, run-and-gun type of game, but that’s not something Anaheim wants to get itself into, says Getzlaf. “We’ve been trading chances with them, and you just can’t do that. They’re a quick-strike team that really scores off the rush. But we just need to worry about us. We’re going to spend more time focusing on what we’re going to do, and not so much on what they’re going to do.”
NEW LOOK LEAFS
Toronto has gone through a coaching change since these two teams last met on Dec. 16 at Air Canada Centre, a 6-2 loss for Anaheim. Randy Carlyle (former Ducks head coach) has since moved on, being replaced by Peter Horachek, who was given the title of interim head coach. Horacek was one of Toronto’s assistant coaches before being appointed to his new role.
Though the Leafs have gone 1-2-0 since Horacek took over, they’ve allowed 66 shots over that span, the lowest total over any three-game span this season. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says he thought Toronto deserved a better fate than a 2-0 shutout loss at Staples Center two nights ago. And after studying game film, Boudreau says he’s noticing a more defense-first mentality from the Maple Leafs.
“Defensively, they’re trying to be a lot more accountable, especially in their last two games,” he said. “It’s going to be a real challenge. We haven’t been very good defensively in the last eight or nine games, so we have to get back to our game.”FORMER DUCKS GALORE
Familiar faces wearing blue and white will grace Honda Center ice tonight. Six former Ducks are currently on Toronto’s active roster, all of which are listed below.Troy Bodie
– Claimed off waivers by Anaheim on Nov. 16, 2010. Bodie appeared in 57 games over three seasons with Anaheim, recording eight points (5g/3a).Jake Gardiner
– Selected by Anaheim in the first round (17th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft, and traded to Toronto, along with Joffrey Lupul and a fourth-round draft pick, on Feb. 9, 2011 in exchange for Francois Beauchemin.Joffrey Lupul
– Skated in 205 games over four seasons with the Ducks, recording 114 points (56g/58a). Lupul was Anaheim’s first-round selection (7th overall) in the 2002 draft.Peter Holland
– Anaheim’s first-round pick (15th overall) of the 2009 Draft. Holland appeared in 29 games during his time with the Ducks, finishing with seven points (5g/2a). He was traded to the Maple Leafs on Nov. 16, 2013.Stephane Robidas
– Played in 14 regular season games and three in the postseason with Anaheim after being acquired by the Ducks on a March 4, 2014 trade with the Dallas Stars. Robidas signed with Toronto as a free agent in the offseason, and leads the Maple Leafs with 62 career games and 18 career points against Anaheim.Daniel Winnik
– Played 124 games over two seasons with Anaheim before joining the Maple Leafs as a free agent on July 28. Winnik tallied 49 points (12g/37a) during his stint in Anaheim.