Ducks Radio Analyst
ST. LOUIS – The Ducks will hope the third time is a charm when they again shoot for their first victory of the season in a Monday matinee against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.
On the heels of Friday’s 4-0 loss in Detroit and a 4-1 setback Saturday at Nashville, the Ducks will face a Blues team flying high after Saturday night’s 2-1, overtime triumph over visiting Philadelphia in their season-opener.
The Ducks prepared for their next assignment with an upbeat, spirited practice Sunday afternoon at the Blues’ suburban practice rink at St. Louis Mills.
“Today’s not a day that you come down on people,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “The most important thing is to recognize that they are going to feel down. That’s natural, but you have to help pick them up. I think you have to support them.
“Yeah, they made some mistakes. Yeah, we could do things a little differently. Yeah, we had our opportunities. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it didn’t happen. So you stay with the program. You stay focused on the task at hand and just be more conservative. Don’t try to do too much. That’s been a theme with our group at times, to stray away from the game plan and try to become more individual. It becomes counterproductive in some situations.”
There was no problem with the Ducks’ work ethic against the Predators, Carlyle said. The coach pointed to a failed 5-on-3, power-play opportunity when Nashville held a 2-1, second-period lead as the game’s turning point.
A definite bright spot for the Ducks was the play of the “Masterton Line” – center Saku Koivu
skating between wingers Teemu Selanne
and Jason Blake
. Koivu scored his first goal of the season, with nice assists from Selanne and rookie defenseman Cam Fowler
Fowler, 18, is barely half the age of Koivu, who will turn 36 next month, and Koivu is younger than Blake and Selanne.
“They played more inspired and worked extremely hard,” Carlyle said. “For a group of 35 or whatever-plus players, they went out and gave us everything they had.”
Selanne, who led the way with six, Blake and Koivu combined for 13 shots on goal.
“Last night, I thought we did some good things,” Blake said. “In Game 1, we got maybe two scoring opportunities, for the most part. Last night, we had some good chances. That’s what you want to see. You just keep moving forward.
“It’s a process. We have some new faces in the room. It’s obviously not the way we wanted to start (the season). You want to start out well. Obviously, we’ve given two away now, and we have a big game against the Blues. We have to make sure we bring our best.”