By Kyle Shohara
After giving Ducks fans a scare last night, John Gibson was right back out there this morning for practice at Honda Center. The All-Star bound netminder left the game 41 seconds into the third period after Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri crashed into him, which prompted Gibson to flex his leg before eventually coming off.
The move was a precautionary one, especially given the score of the game, which, at the time, was 3-0 in favor of Toronto.
“If he was winning 2-0, he would’ve probably stayed in,” says Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “But because it was 3-0 in the third period, I didn’t see the point. He’s fine.”
Boudreau said Gibson is 100 percent and could start tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues.
Touching on the loss last night, the players in the room admit it wasn’t their best effort, especially with the way the Ducks have played over the past two weeks. Wins in four of the past five games and points earned in six straight leading into the contest were signs of forward progress for a team that’s battled with inconsistency all season.
In other words, tomorrow’s tilt against the Blues comes at a good time.
“I’ve always felt it’s super important that when you fall off the horse, you get right back on and go,” said Boudreau. “That’s what successful teams do. That’s our goal. There were a lot of us that didn’t think our effort was very good last night. When that happens, you want to make amends for that.”
“We don’t want to think about what happened yesterday,” said Rickard Rakell. “We’re keeping our heads up. Everybody is excited to get going again. Tough schedule, so we’re going to be ready tomorrow.”
Tough can be used in the literal sense when it comes to describing the Blues. Arguably the most physical team in the Central Division, it’ll be – as Boudreau likes to say – a “man’s game” tomorrow night. The Blues have size and skill throughout their lineup to go along with world-class goaltending from Jake Allen.
“If you’re not going to compete along the boards and win battles, you’re not going to succeed against them,” said Boudreau. “They’re a big, heavy team, and their defense is very mobile.”
The Blues squandered a 3-1 lead last night and lost, 4-3, in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
“I’m sure they’re not going to be happy,” Boudreau says, “but, hey, we’re not happy either.”