By Kyle Shohara
With a Stanley Cup Final berth at stake, the Ducks know it’s a matter of going out and leaving everything on the ice tomorrow night in Game 7 at Honda Center. There are no more second chances in this series. The winner will advance to the Final against the winner of the Lightning-Rangers series (Game 7 tonight), while the loser goes home packing.
“It’s Game 7, boys, lay it on the line,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said, when asked what his message to the team will be come tomorrow. “Either Sunday you’re done, or you’re continuing to play up to seven more games.”
Boudreau noted the resiliency of this Ducks team, one that tied an NHL record by going 14 consecutive games to start the playoffs without losing in regulation (the 1979 New York Rangers also with 11 wins and three overtime losses).
“Last game was the first game we lost in regulation in the whole playoffs,” said Boudreau. “Usually what our team does, if you get bucked off the horse, you get back on and keep riding. That's what we're going to do. We're going to keep going and hopefully go at them pretty strong. If we play the best game we can play and we lose, we'll be ticked off, but at the same time we will know we gave it everything we had. But if we play the best game we can play, usually the success is on the other end. That's how we're going to react to everything.”
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf shouldered the blame following a disappointing Game 6 defeat at United Center, saying he played “terrible” in the loss. “I thought the tension was there a little bit. It started with me,” he told reporters, following the game. “That's on me. I've got to be better and calm our group down as we go.”
The captain says today’s practice was a big step in the right direction heading into tomorrow’s do-or-die Game 7.
“It's about your preparation,” Getzlaf said. “I was thrilled with the way we went out today and worked. Practice was high-tempo getting ready for tomorrow. I think that's part of the preparation, is doing it the day before, doing the morning skate, those things, so that when you get to the game, you don't have to turn it on, it's just there already.
“I’ve always believed you learn a lot from losing, and that’s what we want to do going into tomorrow’s game,” Getzlaf said. “We want to have that mindset to play our game. We figured it was going to be close at the end [of the series], but there are certain things we’re going to have to do tomorrow to make sure our game is ready to play. We have to go out and play. We were tentative in Game 6, waiting to see what they were going to do at times. It’s down to the wire. We expected this series to go long, and here we are.”
Getzlaf’s longtime linemate and friend Corey Perry says it’s about execution, plain and simple.
“You can prepare all you want, think about it all you want, but you have to go out and do it,” said Perry. “You have to go out and play hockey, do your job. Since the series started, it's all about beating the Blackhawks. That's all it is. You have to go out and beat that team on the other side. You have one opportunity to make it, make a chance and play for that Stanley Cup. That's what you want to do.”