"We still lost," he said Thursday while many players skated in an optional practice at Xcel Energy Center. "We get the start we wanted, we do everything we wanted for the first 10 minutes, then all of a sudden unforced errors, giving pucks away left, right and center; you just don't know what's going on. I kept seeing that and I kept saying, 'That's ridiculous.'
"Every goal that wasn't a power-play goal we gave them. And even the one power-play goal we flipped it right on their stick. It's all takeaways or turnovers and not managing the puck right. Those are the frustrating things when you're talking at Game 69."
The Ducks' inconsistency is baffling. It's also a hazard to a long postseason run. Winger Andrew Cogliano said a lack of mental sharpness can lead to inconsistent play.
"This is the last time of the year that you want to be doing this. You want to be playing your best hockey as of right now," he said. "It seems like we have one good game and then a game that's the complete opposite. That's a little unnerving because you want to start building a consistent game, even if you're not winning the game."
They should get a boost Friday if left wing Matt Beleskey returns after missing 12 games because of a shoulder injury. Beleskey, who set career-highs in goals (21) and points (30) in 56 games, said he's ready. Boudreau wouldn't say who will be bumped out of the lineup if Beleskey is in. Defenseman Sami Vatanen (leg) remains out.
"He's got 21 goals and he's a physical player. How many people would want that on your team? I would venture to guess quite a few, including me," Boudreau said of Beleskey. "When you take a scorer like him out and you look down the line, every team seems to have more 10-goal scorers than us in the lineup. You want to get that balance of everybody being able to go. I think that's what made our team so successful last year is lines one through four could really score."
Beleskey participated in the warmups Wednesday and watched the rest of the game from the press box. "Maybe just mentally we looked a little tired or something. We made unordinary mistakes — guys out of position, turning pucks over in certain situations. Maybe that's just one of those nights," he said. "I think in Vancouver we played a much more sound game, that's for sure."
Cogliano said Beleskey's return will have a ripple effect.
"I think he's physical, he plays the game hard, he's the type of player you want in these games because they're a playoff-like atmosphere. He's going to help us," Cogliano said. "Not only will he be good but he'll push guys into certain spots that maybe feel more comfortable and we'll have a more balanced lineup."
The Ducks are 2-0 against the Wild this season but both games came before the Wild got hot: Minnesota is a league-leading 19-4-2 since Jan. 15, including a 17-3-1 record since the All-Star break.
When: 5 PDT.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830
Etc.: Ducks defenseman Josh Manson was assigned to Norfolk (Va.) of the American Hockey League after being scratched the last two games.