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Ducks, Jets preparing for physical Game 2

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- The number of hits grew with each period as bodies bounced off each other at Honda Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

There were 39 combined hits after one period and 64 after two periods. The final number was 83, which set the tone for the rest of the best-of 7 series which continues with Game 2 (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, PRIME) at Honda Center on Saturday.

"I don't think Winnipeg or us are going to turn into a bunch of ballerinas and play that kind of game," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said after practice Friday. "We're both physical teams and there was a lot of hits. That's what makes seven-game series so interesting. I don't think too much will change. If anything, it will get ramped up because when you don't play a team since January, usually what happens in a series like this is you start to really dislike other people, and that becomes more evident as games go on."

Each has a similar style of play that was summed up midway through the second period when Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin leveled Jets forward Mark Scheifele after Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey collided with Toby Enstrom.

Anaheim rookie Chris Wagner found out the hard way about Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.

"I took a pretty good run at him and I think he barely moved," Wagner said. "Like hitting a brick wall, pretty much."

Both sides said that this was what they expected and it will last throughout the series, down to the last ice pack.

"I think it stays," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "I think it stays though the whole series, in part because both teams are built to do that, and that will be the cost of the series. It's going to be a physical series. The difference, I think, and what makes this exciting, is that both teams [skate] too.

"Normally, in a physical series, it's a more of a grinding style, but both teams get up and down the ice. Those hits are finished at high speeds, and there were a lot of great hits in the game, and I think that stays."

Maurice did not have an update on forward Mathieu Perreault, who is out with a lower-body injury, and didn't indicate he will change his lineup.

Asked about Jets defenseman Tyler Myers' observation that the Jets got caught looking around in third period, Maurice joked, "That's why we don't let Tyler talk to the media.

Maurice heaped praise on Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen and said he should be a Norris Trophy candidate.

Winnipeg must respond to Anaheim's skill and its young players have to adjust quickly after most played their first NHL postseason game on Thursday. But that won't change their physical stance.

"I think, from our standpoint, that's what we're going to bring to the table," Jets forward Blake Wheeler said. "Our approach isn't going to change just because the end result wasn't what we wanted."

Winnipeg played in high-intensity games in order to qualify for the playoffs, and Maurice sounded like they've been here before.

"We have a routine now to handle just about everything," he said. "I think some of those losses that we had in the last month, there was a higher cost to than we found from that last one. Just the sheer number of games we were playing, and the pressure that was around that environment that those will be more difficult to put aside.

"There's eight teams in the National Hockey League right now dealing with exactly what we’re dealing with: a Game 1 loss. This is all something everybody has to get through. We've got to figure out a way to get through. We've done it well in the past and I expect we’ll do it all again."

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