By Kyle Shohara
|"It's a great challenge. Those players, with their kind of skill level, they can make plays out of nothing." -- Saku Koivu, on Detroit forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Ducks took part in their morning skate at Honda Center prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m./Prime Ticket/ESPN 710).
Much has been said of the impact of Anaheim’s third line in Game 1 on Tuesday. That line, comprising Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnik, held Detroit’s top-two offensive threats (Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg) off the score sheet. In fact, Datsyuk was held to just a single shot on goal after recording eight points in the final three regular-season games.
Not since the 2007 Cup champion team has Anaheim possessed a formidable “shutdown” line. And although none of the three linemates specifically label themselves as that type of trio, their containment against Detroit’s top line will be a major factor for the rest of the series.
“It’s a great challenge,” Koivu said, on facing Detroit’s top scoring line. “You try not to think about it too much and play the way we’ve been playing the whole season. Those players, [Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg] with their kind of skill level, they can make plays out of nothing.
“You know they’re going to get some chances and get some pressure against you, but you just try to battle through.”
The 38-year-old center also says all four lines have to be responsible defensively.
“They’re key players on their team, but at the same time, we’re trying to focus on our own game,” Koivu said. “For all of our lines, we have to be responsible defensively and not turn the puck over, especially against a team like Detroit. The longer we can limit their chances against us, it’s good for our team.”
Francois Beauchemin had time to reflect on his empty-net goal that added insurance to Anaheim’s Game 1 victory. His 180-foot wrist shot sailed through the neutral zone and into the empty net with 22.4 seconds left.
“I just had a quick second,” Beauchemin said. “I didn’t even think about it. I just got it on my stick and shot it right back down. I saw it [on the right path] and was hoping it wouldn’t spin out. It didn’t, so that was good.”
Although head coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t usually on the ice, physically, during the gameday morning skates, he says he keeps a close eye from his position on the bench.
“I’m looking at the intensity,” Boudreau said. “Seeing if it’s sloppy, and if it is, I’ll pull them in. Like the teacher, when you’re not out there, they relax a little bit.
“Especially at this time of year, I think it’s important to have a good morning skate to make sure you’re ready for the game tonight. In my history, a lot of times if you don’t have a good [morning skate], whether I played or coached, it sort of just goes into the afternoon and goes into the evening, and a lot of times you’ll play like you practiced in the morning. And as a player, I always wanted to go out there and feel really good about myself after the skate. Then you get a chance to go home and get some rest and can’t wait to get back to the game.
“I just thought it was good psychological stuff.”
Boudreau said defenseman Luca Sbisa is available to play tonight, but he’ll keep the same defensive pairings as Game 1.
Goaltender John Gibson has been loaned to Team USA for the World Championships. Igor Bobkov has been recalled and is on the roster.