With a win over Phoenix, a victory in Vancouver and a loss to the San Jose Sharks this past weekend, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim now enter the final phase of pre-season games. Anaheim will host Vancouver on Wednesday night and then play the Los Angeles Kings at the Pond on Friday evening. Anaheim closes out the pre-season schedule on Saturday night in Phoenix.
“In the first game this past weekend against Phoenix, we had a workman like attitude towards the game,” said Randy Carlyle, Mighty Ducks Head Coach. “We did a lot of things we have been trying to stress. I thought our specialty teams were able to move the puck efficiently, specifically the power play. We got some chances and generated something from that. We were able to carry that into the game in Vancouver.”
After the Ducks beat Phoenix 5-3, Anaheim played in Vancouver on Saturday night. And came away with a 4-2 victory over the Canucks.
“The real settling effect that night was the Todd Fedoruk-Wade Brookbank fight,” says Carlyle. “They had 18,000 people there cheering at a pre-season game and Fedoruk silenced their crowd. Our guys seemed to be able to gain momentum from that.”
The Mighty Ducks concluded the weekend games with a 6-5 loss in San Jose.
“We seemed to be out of synch,” added Carlyle. “We didn’t win enough battles one on one for the puck. We didn’t start with the puck. Our face-offs were below 40%. For our hockey club, to play the type of game we’d like to play, we are a puck possession team. We have to start with the puck more often. I didn’t think we did enough of that. We showed some jam by coming back and scoring three goals in the third period to make it interesting. But we weren’t complete enough in the hockey game.”
Carlyle says some people played well enough to earn an extended stay with the NHL team and some people didn’t.
“That’s why you play the exhibition games, to do the assessment of where certain players are,” says Carlyle. “We tried to give, for the most part, to give everybody an opportunity. Outside of one or two situations, I thought we did that.”
With three pre-season games remaining, Coach Carlyle says he wants the team game to be strong in all areas.
“We went over the aspects of our game that we think have to be staples,” added Carlyle. “That starts with defensive zone coverage, neutral ice fore check and our execution from defense to offense. All those things, besides the rule changes. Adjusting to that. There’s been a lot on our plate in a short period of time. The season’s about to start. We have to make sure, we relay the proper message to our players and that’s what we’ll continue to do on a day-to-day basis. Our focus is preparing ourselves for next Wednesday when it counts.”
Anaheim opens up the regular season on Wednesday, October 5th in Chicago against the Blackhawks.