The phrase used around the Ducks locker room this afternoon was simple: back to basics. After two consecutive 5-4 shootout losses to the Phoenix Coyotes, two games in which the Ducks held multiple leads throughout, the players focused on systems drills during the 90-minute practice at Honda Center.
“Even if you slip a little bit, it’s going to affect your game,” said Teemu Selanne. “That’s what has happened. That’s why we went back to the basics. Usually that works.”
The Ducks close out their three-game mini-series against the Coyotes tomorrow night at Honda Center, and a few of the Ducks shared their thoughts on the previous two games.
Luca Sbisa: “They don’t have too many mistakes coming from their own end. They usually play really solid. The few chances you get, you usually have to take advantage of it. Otherwise they will shut the door on us.
“If you would’ve asked me before those two games that if these games would be high scoring, if I was a betting man I’d say no. But I guess things change. We want to play a little tighter defensively, especially after we score a goal. The next shift is really big. The past few games I don’t think we did a very good job. There’s a few things we have to address, but that’s why we had a day like this. We had a chance to go over a few things systems-wise and take care of our bodies and get ready for tomorrow.”
Matt Beleskey: “Every game has been tight, overtime or a shootout. You make those little tweaks because you’re playing teams back-to-back and you see their tendencies and try to adapt. It’s been fun, but we definitely want to be on the other end of these wins.”
Beleskey, on Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith: "You want to keep it away from him. He’s like another defenseman out there. That’s definitely something you look at and try to keep the puck away from him.”
On practice: “We just came through seven [games] in 11 [days], and it just doesn’t stop. You’ve got to pick your spots when you can practice. I thought today was a good day to get back to basics, especially since we’ve seen a couple things happening where we’re slipping from the way we used to play. Sometimes you just need to come back, gather it, and put it all together.”
On the Coyotes: “They made adjustments last game on their forecheck and we made adjustments, too. It becomes a cat and mouse game a little bit. They’re practicing today, I’m sure. They might be doing something different. Let’s understand that both games really ended in 4-4 ties. Anything you can do to look for an edge is important.”
On whether fatigue has factored in the team’s last two performances: “I think fatigue, quite frankly, it might be a real thing. But if you start talking about it, then it’s an excuse.”
On Kyle Palmieri’s status: “He wasn’t on the ice today, so I’m saying that he’s still day-to-day, but I don’t think he’ll be on tomorrow.”
On Bryan Allen being a recent scratch: “He’s not feeling great, or he hasn’t. He’s had flu-like symptoms the last couple of days. He’s just gaining his strength back.”
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