Ducks Radio Analyst
DALLAS – Seven points and four teams removed from the eighth and final Stanley Cup playoff position in the NHL’s Western Conference when they took the ice for practice Friday, the Ducks were in no mood to celebrate any kind of moral victory.
|“That’s why I’m so depressed today, because it seems when we win, other teams win, and when we lose, other teams are losing,” Boudreau said. “They keep us alive. It’s great that they keep us alive, but at the same time, when you’re not taking advantage of it, it’s frustrating.” |
Had it been earlier in the season and were they not in such desperate need of points, the Ducks would have had a lot to feel good about in the wake of Thursday night’s 3-1 loss at St. Louis.
After all, the Ducks went toe-to-toe with a Blues team that sits first in the NHL’s overall standings, and for the most part played on at least even terms. The Ducks out-shot St. Louis 21-20 at even strength, but two power-play goals by Blues center David Backes proved to be the difference.
“I went over the game and I thought for 40 minutes, we were pretty darn good, holding that team to what we did,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But it doesn’t do us any good.”
The Ducks did receive some help on the out-of-town scoreboard. Los Angeles and Colorado, which sat ninth and 10th in the Western Conference, lost in regulation Thursday. Seventh-place Phoenix and eighth-place San Jose, meanwhile, each picked up only one point with a shootout loss.
“That’s why I’m so depressed today, because it seems when we win, other teams win, and when we lose, other teams are losing,” Boudreau said. “They keep us alive. It’s great that they keep us alive, but at the same time, when you’re not taking advantage of it, it’s frustrating.”
With only 14 regular-season games remaining, including a Saturday night date against Pacific Division-leading Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the Ducks pretty much have no margin for error.
The Stars have dominated the season series, beating the Ducks in four of five meetings, including both contests in Dallas.
“I don’t really know the answer for that,” Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne
said. “I remember one game we lost pretty badly at home. I think it was 6-2. But I think all the other games have been (close). They could go either way. I don’t think we have to change much.”
The biggest area of improvement needed lies in special-teams play. In each of their past three losses, including a 4-2 defeat March 3 at Los Angeles and a 2-0 setback Feb. 29 to visiting Buffalo, the Ducks have failed to score on the power play while their penalty-killers have surrendered at least one goal.
|“It is really frustrating, especially for me,” Selanne said. “We have to just some way turn it around and start getting goals from the PP. That’s the way we can win games so much easier and give ourselves a chance to stay in the race.” |
“It is really frustrating, especially for me,” said Selanne, who ranks fifth on the NHL’s all-time list with 246 career power-play goals. “We have to just some way turn it around and start getting goals from the PP. That’s the way we can win games so much easier and give ourselves a chance to stay in the race.”
The Ducks have converted just one of 15 power-play opportunities over the past five games, and are just 4-for-40 with the man advantage over the past 13 games. Ducks penalty-killers, meanwhile, have been burned for 10 goals in 27 times shorthanded over the past nine games.
“We’ve been struggling a lot more (on the penalty-kill) than on the power play,” Boudreau said. “The PK loses you games. The power play wins you games.
“We do a lot of work every day, not only on the ice, but in the video room. Coaches work on the special teams. When it’s not getting done right, it ticks you off.”
Still, victories Saturday at Dallas and Monday at Colorado would keep the Ducks’ playoff hopes alive.
“We played the best team, supposedly, in the league last night and I thought we battled them to a standstill and lost,” Boudreau said. “Now we’re playing the hottest team in the league. We just have to find a way to be successful against them.”
NOTES – Center Nick Bonino
, who left Thursday’s game in the second period because of a lower-body injury, did not practice Friday. Boudreau and Bonino both said that Bonino is “day-to-day” and did not rule him out for Saturday. … The Ducks recalled center Ryan O’Marra from American League affiliate Syracuse. O’Marra, acquired from Edmonton on Feb. 16, has eight goals and 18 points in a combined 47 AHL games with the Crunch and Oklahoma City of the AHL this season. O’Marra, 24, has 31 games of NHL experience, including seven this season, all with the Oilers.