Having NHL’s best mark is low on Ducks’ Bruce Boudreau’s priority list

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, shown during a game against Arizona on March 3, says he he cares "not one iota" about his team winning the President's Trophy.
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau wants his team to play with more desperation as the playoffs loom in less than a month, but Anaheim is in a comfortable place.

Not only do the Ducks occupy first place in the Pacific Division by a wide margin, they possess the most points in the NHL, bearing down on the Presidents’ Trophy for best regular-season record.

Boudreau absolutely wants his team to jell better after its six trades and the return of some injured players, but as for the honor of the Presidents’ Trophy, he said Saturday he cares “not one iota.”


“I’ve won the Presidents’ Trophy before [as Washington Capitals’ coach], and it got me nowhere. A week after you win it, or three days after you win it, no one cares because the playoffs start. … It means nothing.

“We want to end up as high as we can, but if we can’t end up with that, we don’t care. We’re looking to see that our group is ready for the playoffs. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Beating the Minnesota Wild on Friday with goalie John Gibson providing 32 saves was part of the plan, and Sunday’s home game against the sliding former Central Division-leading Nashville Predators continues the work.

“We beat a team that was the hottest team in the NHL,” Boudreau said. “I’m happy with the way the guys were totally into the game. They knew they had lost three in a row. They wanted to turn the tables and win this one. We can’t change. We know we’re getting ready for playoffs. We know there are 12 games left. We have to start getting things ready.”

The Ducks (43-20-7) got forward Matt Beleskey (shoulder) back Friday, his first game back since Feb. 15.

“When he’s playing up to his level … he’s really good for us,” Boudreau said. “We need that ilk on our team.”

As for Nashville, Boudreau said penetrating the Predators’ “speed and tenacity,” and standout goalie Pekka Rinne would be a playoff-readying accomplishment.

“We’re on track to be where we were last year, minus a couple of points,” Boudreau said of the 2013-14 team that finished with the Western Conference’s top seeding. “If we get there, and we’re playing the best hockey of the season, that’s what we want to be.”


Silfver lining

Despite many missed golden scoring chances in the regular season, Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg tallied his personal-best 11th goal Friday against the Wild.

The shootout specialist kept his spot in the lineup because Boudreau values his intelligence and defensive skills.

“I would like to have scored more than 11 goals, but I was struggling quite a bit the first half of the season,” Silfverberg said.

“Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of confidence from Bruce, been seeing a lot of minutes out there, and that’s been helping a lot. And especially, putting the puck in helps too. It’s a lot of fun, and I feel like, as I get the chances, I have a good chance of putting the puck in. I try not to think too much about it. The puck comes right at me, and I don’t think I put my stick there, and it goes into the net. A couple more of those bounces, and it could turn out good for coming into the playoffs.”




When: 5.

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

ETC.: Center Mike Ribeiro leads the Predators with 54 points, and defenseman Shea Weber remains a scoring force with 15 goals.

Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

Twitter: @latimespugmire