Ducks are happy to be back home

Without the benefit of their home crowd in crunch time, the Ducks gave up a decisive third-period goal in Florida, lost a shootout in Carolina and watched Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh strike for three goals in less than five of the final minutes.

So after that 0-3-1 trip plagued by illnesses, practicing at Honda Center on Tuesday was a welcome experience for the first-place team that will play host to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

At 8-0, the Ducks are the NHL's only unbeaten home team.

"It comes down to that energy we feed off the crowd," forward Emerson Etem said. "We're all excited about getting back at it and continuing the home streak."

Doing so will require tightening a defense that gave up 13 goals in the last four road games — the same number of goals they had given up in seven games before the trip.

Coach Bruce Boudreau said the Ducks require a more dedicated push to the net, particularly from the second through fourth lines. Only two of six road goals came from outside the first line.

"We worked on it a little bit more today," second-line center Mathieu Perreault said. "Go to the net, get second shots. We looked at the film, and most of our chances have been one and done. We have chances, but there's no one there.

"There's no need to panic. We know we have a good team."

Star power

Pittsburgh's Crosby didn't score when Ducks rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm was on the ice, but the 19-year-old found himself distracted by the star's play.

"He always goes to the paint, is always working hard, trying to win every faceoff, always has his head up," Lindholm said. "You can just see, if you give him an inch out there he's going to make something good out of it. So you have to play him very close and make it hard for him, so he doesn't think it's fun."

Injury updates

Center Saku Koivu, who has sat out 11 games because of a concussion, practiced with the Ducks on Tuesday. Boudreau said Koivu is "questionable" for Wednesday's game.

"Looking better," Boudreau said. "It'll be up to him and how he feels after the practice."

Defenseman Sheldon Souray, who has been sidelined all season after undergoing surgery July 25 for a torn right wrist ligament, said his recovery schedule should have him playing again by the middle to the end of January.

Hallowed ice

The Devils-Ducks game will showcase two players with 675 goals or more — Teemu Selanne with 678 and Jaromir Jagr with 688 — for the first time in more than 10 years. Selanne, 43, and Jagr, 41, are the oldest active players in the league.

Detroit's Brett Hull (717 goals) and the New York Rangers' Mark Messier (678) were the last two, facing off Oct. 25, 2003, in New York.


When: 7.

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

Etc.: As the Ducks look to rediscover their torrid home scoring, Devils goalie Cory Schneider paces the league's seventh-ranked team in goals-against average. New Jersey has the fourth-best penalty-killing team.

Twitter: @latimespugmire

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World