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Stand and Deliver

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

AnaheimDucks.com

"We had a few days to regroup and forget about it,” Beauchemin said. “That is a lot easier sometimes to just forget about it and work on the things we have to."
On the eve of starting a season-high, seven-game homestand, the Ducks worked diligently in practice for the second straight day in hopes of righting the ship.  

Anaheim (32-24-4) last played Saturday in a 9-3 road defeat to the Blues and has dropped three straight games by a combined score of 21-10. In a tight Western Conference, that has dropped the club down to 10th place currently after being within a point of third less than a week ago.

“With what’s transpired with our group in the last three games, there are lots of areas that we can improve on,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “The first one is our work ethic. We created five points that we feel are important for us to stop the bleeding and give ourselves a chance to have success.”After getting a day off on Sunday, the club has had a determined attitude in practices the past two days. “We had a few days to regroup and forget about it,” said defenseman Francois Beauchemin. “That is a lot easier sometimes to just forget about it and work on the things we have to.

“We have to get back to the basics and work hard in practice. We had a really good one today. Guys were sharp and making passes on the tape. We had really good battles down low. That is what you have to do. We have to bring the work ethic back up.”

While wanting to start the seven straight home games on the right foot, the stakes are even higher with tomorrow night’s game coming against the rival Kings.  Already an intense rivalry, the third installment of this season’s Freeway Face-Off will be heightened more so with the fact that each team has 68 standings points and sits just outside of a playoff spot.

“This late in the season, you don’t get too many homestands like this,” Perry said. “It’s nice and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We’re right there (in the standings). Every point is going to be critical.”
“Tomorrow is a huge game,” Beauchemin said. “Those games are always going to be the biggest games for the rest of the year. We have to take it one by one, starting tomorrow. We have a huge stretch here at home that we have to use to get back up in the standings.”

The Ducks sport a 17-9-1 home record, but have only played at home twice since the middle of January, both games being narrow defeats (4-3 loss to San Jose on Feb. 2 and 7-6 loss to Washington on Feb. 16). Ducks leading scorer Corey Perry emphasized the magnitude of playing the next seven straight (and 14 of the final 22 regular season contests) in front of the home fans.

“This late in the season, you don’t get too many homestands like this,” the right wing said. “It’s nice and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We’re right there (in the standings). Every point is going to be critical.”

During two good days of practice, Carlyle and his coaching staff have stressed learning from the mistakes made over the past week. “It’s more about being proactive than reactive,” Carlyle said. “That is where our mindset has to be. We believe in our group because we’ve done it before. The only way that you turn things around is you focus on the process, not the result. The results are always magnified. They are very important at this time.”

Notes
Saku Koivu (groin) did not participate in Tuesday’s practice at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE. He tweaked the area during the latter part of yesterday’s drills and was held out more as a precaution. He will be a game-time decision. “He worked out this morning and still didn’t feel 110 percent,” Carlyle said. “He tried it and there is still some tenderness in the area. We don’t want something like this to turn into an extended period of time, so we’d rather be on the cautious side, specifically for one day’s practice.”

The Ducks head coach did not have much news to report on Jonas Hiller (fatigue/lightheadedness). He said the goaltender continues to work out and see specialists in an effort get back on the ice. “There is always concern when you have issues with dizziness. The doctors don’t feel like it’s something that will keep him a long time away from the ice. It’s a great sign that they have encouraged him to work out and stay active. Those are positives.”
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