By Kyle Shohara
Perhaps the best remedy for the Ducks is a little home cooking.
The team is back in town after their recent four-game road trip, and will open a very brief two-game homestand that starts tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils. After home games against the Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning (Friday), the Ducks will hit the road once more for games in Phoenix on Saturday and Dallas next Tuesday.
It’s been a brutal stretch for the Ducks, who have played 12 of their last 15 games on the road, all of which have been in the Eastern Time Zone.
But the Ducks remain the only unbeaten team at home this season (8-0-0) and will look to continue that trend tomorrow.
“I think coming home is great and you love playing in front of the home crowd,” said Matt Beleskey. “You get that energy and maybe some relaxation off the road. I think that’ll be good for our team.”
“We’ve had four tough games on the road and so far this year we’ve played really good at home,” said Francois Beauchemin. “We want to keep that going. Hopefully we’ll turn it around in the next two games before going back again on the road.”
Beauchemin said last night’s game was a better overall performance, but lacked the consistency and 60-minute effort that’s needed to be successful in this league.
“We just haven’t been consistent,” he said. “We haven’t really played a 60-minute game. We’re going to need to go back to that tomorrow and Friday if we want to be successful at home.”
“That’s a very highly touted team in this league,” Beleskey said of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “People have predicted them to win the Stanley Cup, and I think we were in that game the entire time. We can definitely take that as a positive, but that’s not how we want to play, either.”
The Ducks hope to have Saku Koivu back in the lineup soon, though head coach Bruce Boudreau said the veteran center is “questionable” for tomorrow night’s game.
“He’s looking better,” Boudreau said. “He looked this good the other night and he didn’t play. It’ll be up to him on how he feels after the practice today.”
On the team’s recent struggles
“You go through these things. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe last year’s Chicago Blackhawks team was quite an anomaly being able to go through without a little bit of a losing streak. We had a lot of things go wrong, but I think we just didn’t get the job done. I thought we played ok in Florida and didn’t play very good in Tampa. We played good in Carolina and I thought for two periods we played really good last night. Sometimes you don’t get the breaks and there are games you deserve to win and you don’t win. And there are games you don’t deserve to win and you win.”
On illness and fundamental breakdowns
"The illness I don’t chalk any of it up to. We don’t want to use any excuses at any time. The breakdowns, there were a couple. We allowed more goals on that trip than we did the whole eight games previous. It’s something we have to work on. We only scored six goals in four games. You’re not going to win a lot of hockey games if you allow 13 goals and you only score six. Both ends have to be picked up."
On what was stressed during today’s practice
"We know we have to get secondary scoring. There was a reason we were 15-3 at one point because we did. Our third and fourth lines were scoring, our second line was scoring and our first line was scoring. It was hard to contain a group when you have four lines going. That being said, when you only have one line going, it’s pretty easy to contain. That’s what is happening. We just worked on things like going to the net and stopping in front of the net. You know, 75 percent of the goals are scored within five feet of the blue paint. That’s where you want to converge."