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Hockey

Ducks are hoping for better results from next big test in Minnesota

Cam Fowler
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (4) passes the puck as he is pursued by Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) during the second period on Feb. 3.
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

For someone who has spent the past two weeks flying around the country, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler picked a fitting place to spend his day off:

The National Air and Space Museum in Washington. 

The Ducks stayed over in the nation’s capital Sunday, and perhaps taking in the history of aircraft was an apt metaphor. The journey is sometimes more important than the destination, and the Ducks want to respond in this cruel part of their schedule to bring some swagger back home.

They go from playing the best team in the Eastern Conference,  the Washington Capitals —  a 6-4 winner Saturday — to the best in the Western Conference on Tuesday at the Minnesota Wild. It ends a six-game trip that nosedived at 1-3-1, and there is extra urgency.

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“We’re fighting for points and we feel like we’ve left a lot of points out there,” Fowler said. “Even though we’ve done a lot of things we’re proud of and happy of, like how we’ve dictated the game, and pace of play, we haven’t gotten wins in the past few games.”

Brief, in-game slips have hurt the Ducks in big matchups. In Saturday’s loss at Washington, they allowed two goals in slightly more than three minutes in the first period and a rally fell short. They allowed three goals in two minutes in a 5-3 loss at Minnesota last month.

The novelty of playing former Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau has worn off, but the record stains. They are 0-2 against Boudreau and the Wild this season, and it’s no surprise the competitive Boudreau has used goalie Devan Dubnyk — the NHL’s leader in wins (31) and goals-against average (1.99) — both times. Minnesota is 14-3-2 in 2017.

Fowler said he’s curious to see how they respond to this test and suggested a win would be healthy for a team that hasn’t counted a lot of signature victories this season.

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“You want to prove to them, yourself and the rest of the league that you can go into their building, play and compete,” Fowler said. “Who knows? Come playoff time you could run into them. You want to show you’re a team to be reckoned with. You want to put that doubt in their head.”

DUCKS NEXT UP

AT MINNESOTA

When: Tuesday, 5 p.m. PST.

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

Update: Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen  to could return from a lower-body injury, a team spokesman said. Minnesota is without defensemen Matt Dumba (lower body) and Jonas Brodin (broken finger) and have recalled forwards Alex Tuch and Zack Mitchell. 

sports@latimes.com


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