The afternoon following an intense 3-1 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Detroit, the Ducks got back to work with an optional practice at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice. Most of the Ducks were on the ice, the only exceptions being Jonas Hiller
(who had 21 saves in the victory last night), Francois Beauchemin
(empty-net goal), Sheldon Souray
, Toni Lydman
and Saku Koivu
Andrew Cogliano was one of two Ducks (the other being Emerson Etem) to have made his postseason debut last night, and today he talked about the experience.
“It was unbelievable,” said Cogliano, who spent his first five NHL seasons in Edmonton before coming to the Ducks in the summer of 2011. “It was a great time and I’m glad we got the win. Just the atmosphere and the intensity of the game are just on another level. I never experienced that before. You just feel like every play out there means something. It’s just magnified that much more. It’s a good feeling. It’s fun to know you have 20 guys playing for one goal and to win the game and doing everything you can. It’s a great thing to be a part of."
On the anticipation leading up to the game: “I was really excited. I didn’t sleep at all the night before. As the game started, I really calmed down and settled in, and focused on executing. I didn’t want to let me nerves or my excitement get in the way. I needed to execute.”
As he has done for most of the season, Cogliano played on a third line with Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnik, a unit that was very active throughout the night. “The one guy that keeps me in check, and I know keeps Winny [Winnik] in check, is Saku. At the end of the day, he’s a veteran in the league and I respect him more than anyone pretty much in the league. It’s great to play with him. To have him in my ear telling me little things and giving me insight is something special.
“He doesn’t talk too much but when he does, everything he says is bang on. Last night, he even said ‘Let’s play smart, let’s play in control. They’re going to have chances. [Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg] are two of the best players in the league and they’re going to get chances every game. But it’s a matter of executing and staying to what we have to do.’ And when a guy like him says that, you just take it and think about it for a second. You think about all the experiences he’s been through. For me to play with him and to be a part of his line, I really cherish it.”
Nick Bonino scored the game’s first goal, the first of his playoff career and called it, “really fun. My first NHL goal is cool and this is kind of a whole different animal. It was fun, especially to get the lead early in front of a packed house like that. It’s something I’ll always remember.”