Ducks Radio Analyst
EDMONTON, Alberta – The Ducks went through a spirited practice session early Wednesday afternoon at Rexall Place in preparation for their penultimate game of the regular season.
|“I thought we played a pretty horrid first period, even though I think they only got four shots against,” Boudreau said. “We played hard, and (Edmonton goaltender Devan) Dubnyk made the great saves when he had to make the great saves. That seems to be the story recently, in the last 20 games, when we have lost.” |
Coming off Tuesday night’s 5-4, shootout loss at Vancouver, the Ducks will seek to snap a three-game winless skid Thursday when they take on the Edmonton Oilers for the second time in five nights.
The Oilers, who dropped a 2-0 decision to the Kings on Monday at Staples Center, handed the Ducks a 2-1 defeat Sunday at Honda Center. The victory was Edmonton’s first in its past six games against the Ducks, and just the second for the Oilers in 12 games since March 31, 2009.
While Edmonton is 32-39-9, in 14th place in the NHL’s Western Conference and wrapping up yet another season without a Stanley Cup playoff appearance, the Oilers have plenty to build on with young stars such as Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the injured Taylor Hall.
“Speed,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “That’s been their forte and their thing since 1981, so speed is the first thought that I have. Their forwards are quick, and they work hard.”
The Ducks out-shot Edmonton 33-15 on Sunday, but two first-period turnovers led to goals by Oilers rookie Teemu Hartikainen, and the Ducks responded only with a goal from Teemu Selanne
, the 663rd of his magnificent career.
“I thought we played a pretty horrid first period, even though I think they only got four shots against,” Boudreau said. “We played hard, and (Edmonton goaltender Devan) Dubnyk made the great saves when he had to make the great saves. That seems to be the story recently, in the last 20 games, when we have lost.”
Though they, too, won’t be participating in the playoffs, victories over the Oilers and in Saturday’s season-finale at Calgary would leave the Ducks with a break-even 35-35-12 record for the season. That would qualify as a significant accomplishment, given that the Ducks were 10-22-6 before a 4-2 victory over the visiting New York Islanders on Jan. 6.
“I can find different things to motivate teams and players,” said Boudreau, who doesn’t want to see players merely going through the motions in these final two games.
“It’s not hard to keep them focused if you keep your finger on the pulse of the pressure-type thing,” Boudreau said. “But if the coaches let up, then it’s really easy for the players to let up. They’re like your kids. If you’re not on top of your kids all the time, no matter what the occasion, they’re going to find ways to goof off. So you have to stay on top of them, right to the bell.”