Let's Try This Again...
Friday, 11.11.2011 / 10:29 AM PT
As friendly as the Ducks' upcoming schedule already is over the next three weeks -- with 10 of the next 12 in Anaheim -- it's a little more helpful when you consider the road their opponents face before coming into Honda Center. And that may help matters as the Ducks once again try to steer out of their skid.
For the second straight game, the Ducks are taking on a team playing the second of a back-to-back, having played the Kings in LA the night before. Of course, that didn't help matters Wednesday night when the Ducks fell to a Predators squad that had lost to LA the previous night. Though Nashville rested top goalie Pekka Rinne that night (his first night off of the season) and he was back in there to thwart the Ducks in a 4-2 victory.
Tonight the Canucks come in here less than 24 hours after beating the Kings 3-2 at Staples Center behind No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo, who will reportedly be in there again when the defending Western Conference champs take on Anaheim tonight. Luongo had a solid night in what has been a slightly off-kilter season for him in which he's sporting a 2.96 goals-against average and a .898 save percentagein 11 games. Backup Cory Schneider, who got some serious time in net when Luongo struggled in last year's postseason, has had better numbers in his six appearances. He was the only goalie on the ice (along with five skaters) at the Canucks' optional skate this morning, but then surprised reporters afterward by telling them he wasn't starting. Winger Alex Burrows, who has been out with back spasms, also skated this morning and will reportedly be a game-time decision.
The Ducks also had an optional skate this morning that saw the majority of the roster hit the ice for at least a little time in what was a casual atmosphere. Things were a lot more intense during a lengthy practice at Anaheim ICE yesterday, which was preceded by a nearly hour-long meeting that aimed to find answers.
Randy Carlyle was mostly vague about what was discussed, but offered, “You have to eliminate any confusion, any doubt before you can take the next step forward. If there’s any doubt on what we’re doing or what we should be doing in this situation or that situation that they’re presented with, then you try to deal with that right away. And that’s what you always do when you’re in those. You clarify, and try to focus again on moving forward.”
Teemu Selanne said a number of players made their voices heard in the meeting. “I think it’s important to get input from so many different guys, forwards, defensemen, centers, wingers, about the system. A lot of guys were talking and giving their opinions about how they feel about this and why it doesn’t work, really.
"A lot of times the coach is talking and nobody says a word and then you go on the ice and you think, Well, I don’t know if it’s working. So everybody has to buy into the system. It’s important that the players can give their input. It was good. It was really honest conversations ... a huge step forward.”
The Ducks can only hope that translates into a win tonight against a Canucks team that is averaging exactly three goals a game (dwarfing Anaheim's 1.87) and has the league's second best power play percentage. They're currently eighth in the West at 8-7-1.
A reminder, tonight's puck drop comes at 7:35 p.m. rather than the standard 7:05 p.m. start, a change that was made for TV purposes.