Two faces of the Ducks' defense were not at practice while Cam Fowler's was clearly visible.
Defensemen Sami Vatanen and Kevin Bieksa did not practice Sunday and their availability is day to day, Coach Bruce Boudreau said. Vatanen was struck in the chin area during the Ducks' loss to Colorado on Wednesday, and Bieksa left in the third period in the team's loss to St. Louis on Friday because of a lower-body injury.
"I don't think either one of them is long term," Boudreau said. "I think it's a short-term thing, and hopefully they'll both be back by the end of the week."
The Ducks can fill in with Korbinian Holzer and Clayton Stoner, and also have Shea Theodore with their minor league team as they regroup for three games at home starting Monday against New Jersey. It will be a reboot for Fowler, who will no longer have the full face shield he has worn since March 5 to protect an injured nose.
Fowler, who was a minus-four on Friday against St. Louis, didn't even make it to the end of practice before removing the shield. It fogged up in a warm Honda Center rink.
"It's pretty much healed now and I'm to the point where I need to get back to normal," Fowler said. "It's bothering me a little bit too much."
Fowler said it was "no excuse for anything that was going on with my play," but was eager to turn the page on all fronts. The Ducks have consecutive regulation losses for the first time since mid-December, and they happened after intense games against the Kings and Washington Capitals.
Boudreau didn't know if that was a factor in the Ducks' cooling off after an 18-1-1 run.
"I think we lost a little bit of our sense of urgency in the last week, and I think we'll get it back now," Boudreau said.
This is their first adversity since a 25-4-2 drive. But perhaps they are better equipped to manage a setback because they were 12-15-6 before Christmas.
"We've come a long way as a group and we've done it together, aside from a couple new faces here," Fowler said. "There's things that if you get through them together you come out on the right side of it stronger. I feel like we've bonded in certain ways going through something like that."
Brandon Pirri update
Brandon Pirri practiced with the team for the first time in his recovery from an ankle injury.
Boudreau said Pirri might be available for the Ducks' five-game trip starting March 20. He has not played since Feb.13 and has yet to make his Ducks debut after being acquired from Florida at the trade deadline.
"It's been a while," Pirri said. "You don't want to force things too much. But the team's been going good, so I'm just trying to get back into shape and wait for my opportunity."
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