By Kyle Shohara
Pictures from Practice
Some notes and observations from Anaheim’s Tuesday afternoon practice at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE.
Ryan Getzlaf and Nate Thompson were not on the ice today, as both were given “maintenance days,” according to head coach Bruce Boudreau, who said both are feeling under the weather.
Line rushes were slightly altered because of their absence, and today Rickard Rakell filled in on the top line replacing Getzlaf. Rakell, of course, is coming off a career-best four-point night (2g/2a) in Sunday’s 5-4 shootout victory vs. Winnipeg on Teemu Tribute Night. In addition, defenseman Colby Robak took shifts as a forward, while Rene Bourque saw time with Ryan Kesler and Kyle Palmieri.
“We only have 13 forwards when everybody is healthy, and two had maintenance days, so now you’re down to 11,” said Boudreau. “You have to fit people in where you can.”LINE COMBINATIONS
Patrick Maroon – Rickard Rakell – Corey Perry
Rene Bourque – Ryan Kesler – Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano – Devante Smith-Pelly – Jakob Silfverberg
Colby Robak – Matt Beleskey – Tim Jackman ROAD TO RECOVERY
Defenseman Eric Brewer
skated on his own prior to Ducks practice. Out with a foot injury since Dec. 1, the 35-year-old took part in various skating drills under the guidance of assistant coach Scott Niedermayer. Brewer suffered a foot injury in Anaheim’s Dec. 1 game vs. Boston, and hasn’t played since. The veteran blueliner is 16 games away from 1,000 in his NHL career.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Toronto is to Anaheim as kryptonite is to Superman. Dating back to Anaheim’s inaugural 1993-94 season, the club has only won nine times in 35 games head-to-head vs. the Maple Leafs and enters tomorrow’s game riding a six-game losing streak overall and three straight at Honda Center. These two teams opened the season series on Dec. 16 at Air Canada Centre, a 6-2 victory for Toronto.
“They get us into a horse race, and they’re better at that game than we are,” said Boudreau, who is winless in three tries against Toronto since joining the Ducks during the 2011-12 season. “Sometimes you get caught playing the other team’s game, and it seems that’s been happening to us. We’re more about getting it deep, grinding it out, attacking the nets and playing good defensively.”
Although the 6-2 final score from the first meeting of the season suggests that the Leafs dominated play, it was Anaheim that had more quality scoring chances for much of the game, not to mention shots (42-20). But an inability to capitalize on their opportunities doomed the Ducks, who gave up four third period goals in the loss.
“We can’t let them generate anything off the rush or transition,” said Kesler, who leads all active Ducks in career scoring vs. Toronto (six goals and 13 points in 14 games). “They’re opportunistic. If you give them any chance, and they’ll most likely bury it in the back of your net.”