If today’s practice was any indication, the Ducks could be getting healthier sooner rather than later.
That’s because defensemen Luca Sbisa and Bryan Allen both took part in the team’s full practice, as did captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Sbisa has missed the past 23 games due to a hand injury suffered in a fight on Nov. 22 with Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas. The injury occurred in only his ninth game of the season after missing the first 15 contests of the season with an ankle injury suffered in the team’s preseason opener on Sept. 16. Allen has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau offered an update on his two defensemen.
“Sbisa should be playing by next week and Bryan Allen should be playing by the weekend,” he said. “As far as health goes, touch wood, as long as everything stays OK, we should be as healthy as we’ve been all year, come weekend time.”
Boudreau said Getzlaf looks ready to go for tomorrow. “He looked fine out there and it was a fairly hard practice,” he said. “We wanted him to make sure there was a lot of skating involved. He looks like he’s ready to play.”
And although goaltender Viktor Fasth wasn’t on the ice with the team for practice, Boudreau says he’s improving. “Viktor is getting better. He’ll probably start skating at the end of this week or early next week at the absolute latest.”
Not on the ice was center Saku Koivu, who had a “maintenance day,” according to Boudreau.
STREAKING ON THE MIND
With the Ducks sitting atop the NHL with a league-best 75 points, a lot of talk has been about team’s overall success, especially at home where they remain the only team without a regulation loss on home ice (19-0-2). And considering the Ducks became just the fifth team in league history to win 17-plus games in an 18-game span (17-1-0) with their 1-0 win on Sunday, the talk of winning streaks and breaking records is becoming commonplace inside the locker room, at least with the media. One winning streak in particular involves Jonas Hiller, who's riding a club-record 14-game winning streak, matching the second-longest streak all-time in an NHL single season.
“It’s kind of tough to fully block it out, especially if people ask me about it every day,” said Jonas Hiller, with a laugh. “But once I go on the ice, it’s all about not getting scored on and trying to win a game. That’s the main part…the winning. That’s been the most exciting thing about the streak. That’s going to be the focus again tomorrow night.”
“It’s a source of pride in this room that we’ve made Honda Center a difficult place to play,” said defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “This team is tough to play against. And, this weather is tough to come into for opposing teams. It makes things very difficult on them [laughs].”
Lovejoy says this is a special team to be a part of. “We have so much talent and depth. Our first line through our fourth line can beat you. And when we need it, we’ve had some of the best players in the world step up and score big, timely goals for us. It’s been very fun.”
It’s been nine days since the Ducks pulled off a dramatic comeback overtime victory against the Canucks at Honda Center. After Nick Bonino tied the game with 1:27 remaining in regulation, Corey Perry scored with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime to seal the victory.
After being shutout 1-0 last night in LA, Lovejoy says they’ll be facing an angry Canucks squad tomorrow night.
“This Vancouver team is playing really well,” he said. “Most guys in the room watched them play LA last night, watched how hard they worked, and how well they’re playing. We have first-hand experience. They were very good on the power play against us last game. We need to be ready to go. We haven’t been perfect during our first periods, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on.”