Ducks' Bruce Boudreau to settle on lineup for homestretch

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau aims to do less experimenting with lineup combinations down the stretch

Getting faster and adding a booming shot on the power play were the Ducks' priorities at the trade deadline, but they've encountered the downside of making so many changes so late in the season.

After the Ducks were outscored, 12-5, in losing the first two games of their five-game Eastern trip, Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday he plans to stop moving people in and out of the lineup and will settle on the players he will use during the final weeks of the regular season. That will include restoring defenseman Cam Fowler to the lineup Thursday at Boston after scratching him Tuesday at Columbus.

"You make some trades on defense and you want to see different combinations but that's going to stop pretty soon," Boudreau said by phone from Boston. "We'll go with six defensemen and 12 forwards and get ready for what we have to get ready for. We're getting to the point where we have to put our team out there and we've got potential playoffs to prepare for. We've still got to win two or three more games, I figure, to make sure we get there.

"At the same time, you've got to prepare for the most important thing in your hockey season, the part in April through June."

Players held a meeting Wednesday in addition to going over video and skating for about half an hour.

"The players were angry at themselves," Boudreau said. "I think there was disappointment of 'How could we do this and play like that?' I know they're not feeling warm and fuzzy, like they were a week ago."

He wasn't feeling warm and fuzzy, either, unlike his emotions during consecutive victories over Minnesota, Nashville, the Kings and Colorado.

"I've been lucky to have good offensive teams in Washington and here last year," he said, "but at the same time, as a coach, there's pride in being a pretty good defensive coach. These past few games were disheartening."

The way to fix things, he said, is to simplify everything.

"When things go haywire you complicate things by trying to do too much," he said. "It's making cross-ice passes and doing things we shouldn't be doing. If we're down a goal, keep going and do the things we're supposed to be doing."

DUCKS VS. BRUINS

When: Thursday, 4 p.m. PDT.

Where: TD Garden.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.

Etc.: After winning only five of their last 10 games, the Bruins have fallen a point behind surging Ottawa for the second East wild-card spot. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, second in team scoring with 42 points, will be out indefinitely after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury last week.

Times staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.

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