Ducks Radio Analyst
Barely nine hours after trudging into a downtown Boston hotel at nearly 4:30 a.m., the Ducks were on the ice at TD Garden addressing what went wrong in Tuesday night’s late-game meltdown at Minnesota.
Leading by three goals six minutes into the third period, the Ducks saw the Wild score three times in little more than 11 minutes, and then pull out a 4-3 victory on its third power-play strike of the night, by Andrew Brunette 3:08 into overtime.
Disappointing as that result was, the Ducks have little time to look back, what with a looming Thursday night date against the defending Eastern Conference regular-season champion Boston Bruins at the Garden.
Coach Randy Carlyle spent much of the practice session in instructional mode.
“You just try to make sure you’re always learning with your group, and try to get an understanding of where they think they are,” Carlyle said. “Probably the greatest areas of improvement from last night are neutral-zone play and penalty-killing.”
The practice was noticeable for its emphasis on the mental aspect of the game, as opposed to the physical.
“My issue was things we can control, and do a little better job at,” Carlyle said. “That’s more important than ranting and raving.
“I did a little bit of that.”
With a 0-1-1 record, including Saturday night’s season-opening 4-1 loss to visiting San Jose, and facing upcoming road games against Philadelphia and the New York Rangers, the Ducks clearly need to put their lessons to good use quickly.
“When you give up a three-goal lead in a period, obviously some things need to be corrected,” center Ryan Carter said. “We gave away a game last night. With today’s practice, I think we’re confident we can correct our mistakes.”
Until things fell apart in the third period, the Ducks had embraced several positives, not the least of which was the first goals of the year for off-season acquisitions Joffrey Lupul, Evgeny Artyukhin and Saku Koivu
“Koivu, (Teemu) Selanne and Lupul should be able to provide the desired offense,” Carlyle said. “Now we just have to wait for (Ryan) Getzlaf, (Corey) Perry and Bobby Ryan
to provide some.”
Perry, who dished a sweet pass to set up Artyukhin’s goal, and Getzlaf have three assists between them in two games, but none of the three members of the Ducks’ top line has scored a goal.
“They’re our young core of players who have to play to a higher level,” Carlyle said.
Center Petteri Nokelainen, meanwhile, returned to practice after having been sidelined because of a groin issue. Nokelainen, recovering from offseason abdominal surgery, traveled to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see Dr. William Meyers, the surgeon who performed the procedure.
Meyers discovered nothing more than scar tissue built up in the area.
“That was the best news I could get,” Nokelainen said.
Nokelainen plans to take things “day by day,” increase his work level incrementally, and hopes to be ready for action relatively soon.