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Ducks refreshed for Game 4 after time away at resort

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

BANFF, Alberta -- Here in this Rocky Mountain resort community, the Anaheim Ducks found a bit of a reprieve from hockey, the Calgary Flames and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That time away has ended and the Ducks resumed preparing to face the Flames in Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round series Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

After a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flames in Game 3 on Tuesday, the Ducks opted to move 78 miles west of Calgary to one of Canada's largest tourist destinations.

"At some point, especially during a long playoff run, you feel like hockey's on your mind all the time, 24/7," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said Thursday. "That can be a good thing sometimes, but especially when you have two days in between games, it's nice to take a day to unwind. We still accomplished the things we wanted to as a group and had some great practices. But I think mentally it was good for our group to get away and unwind a little bit. I thought it was a positive experience for everybody."

The two-day break between Games 3 and 4 allowed the opportunity to head here.

"It was pretty nice to be honest," Fowler said. "It's not every day you get the chance during a playoff series to kind of come out to a place like this and unwind a little bit. I thought it was a great thing for our team. I certainly enjoyed all the beautiful nature and everything. I thought it was great."

The 90-minute commute from downtown Calgary was planned prior to the outcome of Game 3, which was the Ducks' first loss of the 2015 playoffs.

It's something Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau enjoyed as a player with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boudreau and his teammates would stay well outside the city when playing road games against the Montreal Canadiens.

"We did it in Toronto when we'd go to Montreal," Boudreau said. "We'd go out in the mountains. I can't even remember where, but I know we'd stay in cabins. It never worked for us there, so I hope it works for us here. Montreal had a pretty good team back then. We'll see. We'll see how it works."

The Flames gained momentum in the series with their Game 3 win, which came when Johnny Gaudreau scored with 19.5 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game and Mikael Backlund scored to win it for Calgary 4:24 into overtime.

"We were 19 seconds away from going into a very hostile building and walking away with a win," Fowler said. "I think it would've been tough to start [the playoffs] 7-0 and 8-0. At some point you're going to get knocked down a little bit. It's all about how you respond. You have to credit them with their resiliency. We let them gain some confidence. If I were them, I'd certainly feel they've got a good chance to get back in the series now.

"It's up to us to respond."

Boudreau said the mental break should help his players do that.

"The whole thing would be just refocused and getting ready to play," he said. "That's all it was, is to get away and clear your head, and now we're ready to go back and have a really good Game 4."

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