By Adam Brady
If there was any concern the Ducks would get caught up in their six-game postseason winning streak and lose focus of the matter at hand, it was quelled during the tensest moments of last night’s Game 2 vs. the Flames at Honda Center.
With the Ducks clinging desperately to a one-goal lead late in the game, playoff veterans Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf stepped up to steady the troops on the Anaheim bench.
“[Kesler] came down the bench in the third period and said, ‘Guys, it’s one shift at a time. Calm down. Everything’s okay,’” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau this morning following a light practice before the team heads to Calgary for Games 3 and 4. "So that experience showed through. And then Getzlaf said, ‘Guys, keep it calm. Keep it calm. Know who’s up and who’s going here. We don’t need a lot of screaming right now.’
“So, between the two of them, they’ve sort of taken over trying to let everybody else know not to get overly excited, overly down or overly up in any situation.”
|“It’s business, and we have a business attitude We don’t want to lose track of where we are. We want to keep pushing forward and stay on the right track." |
That kind of composure and veteran savvy is vital for a Ducks team that has yet to lose a game this postseason, but now heads to Calgary for pivotal Games 3 and 4.
“It’s business, and we have a business attitude,” said Ducks winger Corey Perry, who leads the Ducks with five goals and 13 points this postseason. “We don’t want to lose track of where we are. We want to keep pushing forward and stay on the right track.
“We’re going into Calgary, where it’s gonna be a hostile environment. It’s gonna be loud, it’s gonna be crazy, the fans are gonna be nuts. We know what we have to do, play a boring road game and try to get ready.”
That “boring” theme is music to Boudreau’s ears, as the Ducks boss would prefer his team stay miles away from the hype that comes with being the hottest team in these playoffs.
“I think it’s difficult if they watch TV or read the paper or listen to anybody, because that’s what they start talking about,” Boudreau said. “It’s not easy staying totally focused on one goal all the time – that being the next game. It’s up to us [coaches] to implement those things and not let them think, Oh we’re good. We’ve won this, we’ve done that. Until you beat a team on the road in the playoffs, the series is tied. That’s the way I look at it.”
Boudreau said he knows his players have that same attitude, but it doesn’t mean he and his coaching staff don’t feel compelled to remind them. “It’s like having your kids,” Boudreau said. “You know they’ll do the right things, but you remind them every minute to do the right things. You know in their hearts they’re gonna meet you at this time, or whatever the situation may be. But you feel better as a coach and as a parent that you’re uttering those words.”
Composure will be key as the series moves to Calgary, a hockey-mad Canadian city similar to what the Ducks experienced in the First Round vs. Winnipeg. But the Ducks clearly handled that environment well, downing the Jets in Games 3 and 4 to clinch the series sweep.
“We’re going to go into a lively building, and it’s going to be rockin’, much like when we went to Winnipeg,” said Getzlaf, who was named a finalist yesterday for the Mark Messier Leadership Award. “We’ve got to execute our game plan and stay calm.”
Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin used one word – “preparation” – as the reason Anaheim responded to the atmopshere so well in Round 1, and he said that will be the same key this time. “We talked a lot about it before we went there, had a good practice and in the game, tried to get the puck in our possession and in their zone as much as we could to try and calm the crowd down a little bit,” Beauchemin said. “That’s going to be the same type of game we play tomorrow.”
Perry was asked this morning if it’s difficult to stay focused on the “one game at a time” approach in this environment. “It’s not hard at all,” he said. “It’s the playoffs, and we’re looking at it as a Game 7 each and every single night. That’s what you have to approach it. You’ve got to bear down on your chances, and do all the things you have to do to win in the playoffs.”