The Ducks held an optional practice at Honda Center this afternoon after flying out of Detroit early this morning and arriving in Southern California.
After splitting the first four games, this now becomes a best-of-three series in which Anaheim will play Games 5 and 7 (if necessary) on home ice. And despite a frustrating 3-2 overtime loss last night, the Ducks maintain a positive mindset moving forward.
“We’re far from frustrated right now,” Ryan Getzlaf said after the optional practice. “This is playoff hockey. This is the best time of the year. We’re in a best-of-three series now. We always knew along the way that it was going to be a long series and we’re playing a good hockey team over there. We’re just getting ready for tomorrow.”
“It’s a best-of-three series,” Corey Perry said. “We have one game tomorrow night and Friday night. Hopefully we can end it there. But if need be, we come back here for Game 7. The advantage is in our court, hopefully, and we’ve got to go out and earn that.”
With home ice for two of the next three games (if the series goes seven), the Ducks will be able to get the matchups they desire, but head coach Bruce Boudreau says the advantages are miniscule because of how tight the series has been.
“It’s a pretty tight series,” Boudreau said. “When we’re talking advantages, we’re talking miniscule things here. Home ice allows us to change last and to get the matchups that you would like to do. But quite frankly, the matchups only work if your team is playing well and you get a lead.
“If you don’t get a lead, you may have some great defensive matchups but you’re going to have to change because you need to score goals. We’ll get the last change which will help, because I thought the last game they were definitely trying to get [Pavel] Datsyuk’s line against one specific line and we tried to change it a few times. It’s a difficult thing to do.”
As expected, the mood was somber inside the Ducks locker room last night, but Getzlaf and Boudreau said the key to success is staying on an even keel.
“One goal the other way and everyone is happy today,” Getzlaf said. “It’s the way it goes. It’s playoff hockey and it’s fun. We just need to be ready for the next one whether we win or lose.”
“I think it’s important, but it’s a difficult thing to do,” said Boudreau. “When you win, you’re happy. But when you lose, it’s like death. It’s hard to keep an even keel unless you’re winning every game, but we’re trying as hard as we can not to get not too high when we win and not too low when we lose.”
NOTE: Toni Lydman, who was injured in Game 3, was not on the ice during the optional skate this afternoon.