Ducks Radio Analyst
DETROIT – As bad as things might seem for the Ducks, what with a rather unsightly 1-2-3 record on their marathon seven-game road trip that concludes Saturday night at Detroit, things could be worse.
The Ducks have gained four more points during that stretch than the perennially powerful Red Wings, who are 0-5-1 during a six-game winless streak that is their longest since February 2008.
Stanley Cup playoff opponents three times in a six-season span from 2003-09, and Western Conference final foes in 2007, the Ducks and Red Wings will both be looking to get well when they clash at Joe Louis Arena.
“That goes to the parity that’s in the NHL,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Friday after staying off the ice during the club’s light practice session. “If you have a flat period of time, any team can beat any team on any given night.
“I’m sure their concerns are similar to what ours are. Obviously, their offense historically has provided lots of goals for them. We’ve got an offense here that’s usually provided enough goals for us to be successful.”
The seemingly always-potent Red Wings, who opened the season 5-0 before hitting the skids, have scored only six goals in the past six games. Led by two goals and two assists from right wing Teemu Selanne
, the Ducks broke out offensively in Tuesday’s 5-4, overtime loss at Washington, but have netted a total of just seven goals in the other five games during this lengthy sojourn.
“We’re taking a different approach,” Carlyle said. “In looking at the road trip, it’s the final game. We have an opportunity to gain two points. We can be .500. We can get points in five out of seven games. Sure, we’d like to have the extra points that were available, but we’ve lost two shootouts and one overtime.
“One win – it’s not good enough. We understand that, but it’s not all doom and gloom here. We still have a chance to salvage a decent road trip. We’ve played some good hockey here, but we’ve (also) played some poor hockey. We want to eliminate the poor hockey altogether.”
Despite having won two of the teams’ past three playoff meetings, the Ducks have always struggled in regular-season play at Detroit, going just 3-24-7 all-time since entering the NHL in 1993. Rarely, if ever, however, have the Ducks encountered a Red Wings team in a funk the likes of what they are enduring now.
“It’s not usually the way it plays out – that’s for sure,” Ducks winger Bobby Ryan
said. “It’s a different mindset. I know I talked to a few of their players. Every team goes through it at some point. For us to be going through it at the same time is something we’ve never seen before.
“You have to put everything in the past. You have to move forward because if you dwell on the games we let go on the trip, that’s not the right focus for (Saturday). It’s all about the Detroit Red Wings and the type of game they play.”
The Ducks also must ward off the natural tendency to be thinking more about getting home than taking care of business on the ice.
“I think the biggest thing going in with one game left after 14 days or whatever it is, is to focus on that task at hand – try and celebrate the little victories in a game, make sure you’re doing little things to keep yourself in it because it’s very easy to start thinking about that flight home and the amount of time we’ve been at it,” Ryan said. “We have an older group, which is good because the veteran guys can pull you in the right direction any time that happens.”
Carlyle excused the team’s two oldest players, Selanne and center Saku Koivu
, from Friday’s practice. Center Nick Bonino
, who continues to be bothered by a hyperextended knee suffered Tuesday against the Capitals, skated only briefly.
Winger George Parros
, meanwhile, exited earlier than planned after having taken a puck to the face in practice for the second time during this road trip. Parros appeared to escape any serious damage.