By Kyle Shohara
Still in search of their first win of the season, the Ducks will look considerably different tonight as they take the ice against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center. While the lineup could always change, the ‘look’ refers to the new third jerseys the team will debut tonight, and 14 more times this season.
This marks the first time the Ducks have had a new third jersey since the 2010-11 season, when the current primary sweater (“D”) was unveiled as a third jersey on Nov. 26, 2010. This will be the fifth different third jersey in club history.
As for the task at hand, the Ducks took a different approach leading into tonight’s game. Instead of holding practice yesterday, the team had a video session inside the locker room, led by head coach Bruce Boudreau. The words accountability and urgency were used in player interviews over the past 48 hours, while the team’s work ethic has been questioned among its own players.
But today is a new day, as the saying goes, and left wing Patrick Maroon says the team was in much better spirits this morning.
“To get out of this rut, it comes down to working hard and having fun,” he said. “Everyone has been tense around here. That’s no excuse, but it makes a big difference when guys are having fun and smiling on the ice, and enjoying the morning skate. This is such a great group of guys. Everyone gets along so well. There’s no reason why we can’t go out there, have fun and play Ducks hockey.”
Based on line rushes this morning, you can expect Maroon to skate with familiar faces Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
With the team stuck in a scoring rut (only one goal through three games), reuniting Maroon with the Big Two has a lot to do with familiarity.
“They were good in the playoffs last year,” said Boudreau. “They know each other. It’s up to them to play the right way if they want to stay together.”
Also reunited were left wing Jiri Sekac and center Rickard Rakell, with Chris Stewart on right wing. Sekac, 23, and Rakell, 22, developed instant chemistry along with former Duck Emerson Etem near the end of last season.
It remains to be seen if Sekac gets on the board tonight, but if he does it’ll come as no surprise. He has more goals (3) and points (5) against the Avalanche than any team in his career. Granted, his career is all of 72 games in total, but there’s something about the Avs that brings out his best.
Following his trade to Anaheim last February, Sekac scored his first goal as a Duck in a 3-2 overtime victory vs. Colorado on March 20th at Honda Center. He finished the game with two points, and then followed it up with another multi-point effort (1g/1a) on April 3rd against the Avs.
“It just seems like it’s working, so I’m excited for this game,” Sekac said, with a laugh, before his face drew taut. “We need to start acting like a team. That means getting ourselves going even in the locker room before the game. We’re still not in that playoff mode like we were last year. The goals are going to come eventually because this is a great team. We have that potential.”