Ducks go back to basics after allowing 30 goals in seven games
To call it a practice to save the season would be too dramatic, but the Ducks conducted a boot camp-like session Wednesday in an attempt to restore order.
In response to 30 goals allowed in the last seven games, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau put his unit through a vigorous cardio-testing, back-to-basics lesson.
“Always, when you have a grinding practice — it’s a battle when you do it — but you feel good after,” Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm said.
The Ducks would feel even better if they can finish this difficult, five-game Southern road swing (1-2-1) with a win over Carolina. One thing is for sure — the hourlong, early afternoon work at the Hurricanes’ practice facility was full of emotion.
Center Ryan Getzlaf urged teammates to ask questions if they were not clear about plays Boudreau designed on a white board. Boudreau shouted on occasion. Tough guys Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon scrambled over a puck as if it were a $500 bill. And assistant coach Trent Yawney peppered the players in a get-it-together, you-can-do-it tone.
“When you don’t play as well as you’d like to, you need to go a little longer,” Boudreau said. “The last seven games, we’ve been steadily slipping. Trying to regain it here. The whole idea is to get it all done right.”
The Ducks worked on passing, puck protection and being physical to keep possession in the offensive zone, and also focused on defensive responsibilities to combat the recent tide of odd-man rushes.
“The main thing was just trying to get our legs going again,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. “A lot of us have been feeling like we’ve been slow the last few games.”
Because John Gibson replaced starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov — who allowed three goals on eight shots Tuesday — there’s momentum for the 21-year-old to reclaim the role he held before suffering a groin injury and being sent to the minors.
Although shoddy defensive play continued, Gibson stopped 15 of 18 shots.
“I know what I’m doing, but I’m not going to say,” Boudreau said. “There’s a lot of clarity on it.”
Starting goalie Frederik Andersen is on injured reserve through at least Sunday’s game after getting struck on the back of his neck by a tipped-over goal during Sunday’s loss.
Bryzgalov, 34, declined to speak to reporters after Tuesday’s game, and was elusive Wednesday when asked whether the outcome was more individual- or team-related.
“I don’t worry [about my status], I want to win the game,” Bryzgalov said. “You go out there, practice, and hope tomorrow is better. Work and hope. We can’t predict the future.”
Trade in air?
The Ducks and Buffalo had trade conversations about Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers weeks ago, but they were officially put to rest Wednesday when Buffalo dealt Myers and others to Winnipeg for a package that included forward Evander Kane.
Do the Ducks need to deal by the March 2 trade deadline, or can they solve their problems in-house?
General Manager Bob Murray “has been pretty adamant about trying to add another ‘D’ man,” Fowler said. “We feel comfortable with the group we have, but if there’s somebody who can be brought in to help us, that’s always good too.”
DUCKS AT CAROLINA
When: 4 PST.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Etc.: The Hurricanes, beaten in overtime in Anaheim on Feb. 3, haven’t played since winning Saturday at San Jose. Lindholm participated in the full practice after missing Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury the Ducks would not disclose. Forward Jakob Silfverberg (flu) also practiced.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire
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