By Kyle Shohara
|On carrying seven solid defensemen: "It's a good thing to have. It's a luxury to have. It makes everyone else better." -- Luca Sbisa
New line combinations were put into place during this morning’s skate at Honda Center, in preparation for tonight’s bout with Nashville.
Bobby Ryan returned to the center position on a line with Matt Beleskey and Teemu Selanne, and Kyle Palmieri skated on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Long Beach native Emerson Etem, recalled yesterday from Norfolk (AHL), skated on the fourth line with Patrick Maroon and Nick Bonino.
Luca Sbisa will make his return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Anaheim’s previous game. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy is expected to be tonight’s scratch.
Viktor Fasth was the first goaltender to leave the ice this morning, an indication he'll be tonight's starter.
On what he took out of being scratched: “I looked at it as something positive. I could’ve been like ‘screw this, screw that,’ and be upset, but I saw it as a new chance. I got to think about a few things. So far, I think I’ve played a really good season so I’m not going to think about it too much. I’m going to use it as something positive and come back a strong player.”
On predicting his performance tonight: “Maybe get a hat trick, five assists and the OT winner. No, no…we’re going to win in regulation.”
Coach Boudreau, on Sbisa: “I talked to him about [his performance] yesterday. I just think he’s too good a player to be playing average. We want him to raise his bar. Not raise the bar of ‘ok, the level there is good,’ but I think his level should be up here and not be satisfied with anything less. That’s all we talked about.”
As the saying goes, you can never have too many defensemen. And with the Ducks currently carrying seven capable d-men, Sbisa says it makes everybody step up their game.
“It’s a good thing to have. It’s a luxury to have. It makes everyone else better. When you know you’re kind of fixed in the top six, you kind of know you can have two bad games in a row. Now, [with seven defensemen], when you have a bad game you have to realize if I’m going to have another bad game I’m probably going to be out of the lineup. It’s not just with me; it’s probably with anyone in this lineup. There’s really not much room for error. It pushes every d-man on this team to play on their top level every night.”
ON TONIGHT’S OPPONENT
Boudreau: “They’re good. I think they got 18 players back from last year’s team. And they know exactly what [head coach Barry Trotz] wants and how to play, and they play that way. And they have the great goaltender. The Dallas game is an anomaly, a 5-4 game for them. They’re involved in 2-1, 3-2 games and they feel comfortable playing in those situations. It’s a tough test every time we play them.”
Perry – Getzlaf – Palmieri
Beleskey – Ryan – Selanne
Winnik – Koivu – Cogliano
Maroon – Bonino – Etem
Souray – Beauchemin
Sbisa – Fowler
Allen – Lydman