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Ducks upbeat after another multi-overtime loss

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Kesler walked out of Honda Center in a suit with no socks shortly after his media obligation Sunday.

The Anaheim Ducks had just arrived from Chicago, and coach Bruce Boudreau ordered them to decompress. There was no practice, and Kesler intended to take his coach's advice.

"I go sit on the beach and relax," the Ducks center said. "Try not to think about hockey. Spend time with my kids. When it's game time, I'll re-energize there and get ready for the game."

Boudreau briefly met with his players, but he otherwise wanted them to step away after a grueling 5-4 double-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The best-of-7-series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Monday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I said, 'Go home,'" Boudreau said. "Don't sit on the couch or anything. Get some movement and exercise in. But have a good day with your families, not think about the game, then come back [Monday] refreshed, all excited to play Game 5 in front of our home fans."

The need for rest is understandable as each team readies itself for the late stage of an emotionally draining series that has already had five overtime periods.

This is the closest Anaheim has come to adversity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, having lost more games in this series than it did through the first two rounds. After leading the NHL in one-goal wins (33) in the regular season, the Ducks have lost two of three one-goal games against the Blackhawks, each in overtime. The three goals they allowed in the third period of Game 4 were as many as they allowed in the third period during the previous 12 playoff games.

"I don't personally worry," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "We haven't lost yet in regulation in the playoffs. We're doing some good things. Last night was one of those nights where we had some breaks defensively. We need to correct those. But overall our game has been pretty solid for the start of the playoffs. It's just the way we wanted to play. Like I said, I don't think anybody expected to come back from Chicago up 3-1."

Anaheim's positivity is justified given it responded with a win following its previous two playoff losses, each in overtime. It's also fitting that one of the NHL's most resilient teams isn't rattled by two multi-overtime losses against Chicago.

"I think our intensity in the game goes up," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "It's about responding. Everything that we designed this team around this year, I think, was our ability to put things past us and move on and keep playing and not let things affect us outside the game or from game to game.

"So, I think we come back, get right back at it again. Anxious to get back on the ice after a disappointing loss. We've been able to do that so far."

Boudreau acknowledged that the Ducks weren't as good defensively in Game 4. They lost a lot of 1-on-1 battles and their penalty kill allowed the tying goal that helped force overtime.

"We had a blip [Saturday]," Boudreau said.

But Boudreau also talked about how evenly matched the teams are and the inevitable puck bounces. So far the latter has favored Chicago, which is the first team in NHL history to win four games that required at least two overtime periods in a single postseason. The Blackhawks are 8-1 in one-goal games and 4-0 in overtime in the playoffs.

The Ducks are 2-3 in overtime, but that doesn't make Boudreau apprehensive about another game going beyond regulation.

"I'm a pretty positive thinker," he said. "My thoughts are the law of averages are going to catch up and it's our turn next. All these games have been so close; you have to believe that eventually there might be another overtime.

"I think both overtimes that we've had against them, they've had some great chances; we've had some great chances. It's what makes for a great series."

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