Having had victory snatched from them in the opening game of their Western Conference semifinal, the Anaheim Ducks are trying to take everything in stride.
The Ducks were seven seconds away from the series lead against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, but Marian Gaborik scored to send the game into overtime, then won it in the extra session.
A day later, the Ducks were back to work, trying to put the disappointing loss behind them and preparing for a critical second game on Monday.
“I thought we played pretty good, I thought we had much better chances to score,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “But when you don’t score… When Corey (Perry) missed that one in overtime and (Devante) Smith-Pelly missed a couple and (Teemu) Selanne missed a couple, you just knew it was a matter of time before they were going to get one good chance to score.
“There is an old saying: ‘You have to make hay when the sun shines’. When you get your chances you have to put them in. We didn’t put them in, but that doesn’t mean we thought it was a bad game.”
The Ducks were losing sleep over some of the opportunities that went awry in Game 1.
Nick Bonino and Corey Perry both hit iron in the second period. Perry then found himself in front of an open net in overtime and had his shot kicked away by defenceman Alec Martinez.
“I was up for a while thinking of what could have been,” Perry said. “I thought we played a pretty solid game, a couple of bounces here and there and it could be a different story.
“It makes it frustrating, but it makes it exciting for the next game. You kind of want to play right away and get after it again. (Monday) night, you try to do the same thing and hopefully it’s a different outcome.”
Having five days between games, the Ducks looked the fresher team in Game 1. After shaking the rust off their skating legs, they took the play to the Kings, who had just two days between the first and second round.
The Ducks had a large territorial advantage in the second, pinning the Kings in their own end on numerous occasions, but were not able to take the lead.
It wasn’t until Teemu Selanne scored eight minutes into the third period that the Ducks were rewarded for their dominance.
“I think we started to play our game,” Perry said. “We came out, we were physical, we were getting the puck below the circles and if we’re doing that, the cycle game that we create is what we want to do, that’s how we’re effective.”
Apart from the final score, the only thing the Ducks could find wrong in their game was on the power play. They finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Kings scored on one of their four power play opportunities.
“I don’t think we had too many shots on the power play,” Perry said. “If we’re shooting the puck, getting some chances, second opportunities that’s the biggest thing. That’s where it all starts for us.
“(Monday) could have been a feeling out process, I don’t know. We were moving the puck well, we just weren’t shooting the puck. Sometimes that happens. Then you have to go back to simple plays and simple power plays it’s going to be a little better for us.”
The Ducks are not expected to make any changes to their Game 2 lineup, having been happy with their collective effort.
The opening game of the series went as expected, with both teams figuring this would be tight from the onset.
“It’s going to be an exciting series,” Perry said. “We know it wasn’t going to be easy, they’re a great team. It’s going to be a long series. We expected that, it’s going to be physical, exciting, probably low scoring, great goaltending and everything you could ask for.”
SCHULTZ IN FOR KINGS
It’s the playoffs, so the Los Angeles Kings were not interested in talking about the health of their defencemen.
The Kings are hurting on the back end with Willie Mitchell already out and Robyn Regehr having to leave Game 1 of their second-round series against the Ducks after the opening period.
“Nope, I’m not talking anything about injuries, ever,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s not something you should have to talk about publicly, it’s to protect the player and not give the other team the advantage.”
Regehr’s undisclosed injury leaves the Kings thin on the blue line heading into Game 2 on Monday.
Jeff Schultz will draw into the lineup for the Kings. The defenceman has yet to play a game for the Kings this season, having spent the year with their AHL affiliate in Manchester.
Schultz spent the previous seven seasons with the Washington Capitals and played for Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“I didn’t think this day was going to come, but I have an opportunity to help the team win,” Schultz said. “I will go out there and do my best and what they ask me to do.”
Schultz was a late season call-up for the Kings as insurance on the blue line. The 28-year-old watched the opening game of the series from the press box.
“It looks like a lot of fun out there,” he said. “The Ducks are a team that are heavy on the forecheck and they come hard. It’s just a matter of getting back, moving pucks up and getting out of our zone.”
MIKE ZEISBERGER BREAKS DOWN ALL 16 PLAYOFF TEAMS
-Click the box below for the skinny on who’s in and who’s out of Stanley Cup contention