The Ducks went through an afternoon practice at Honda Center sandwiched between Games 2 and 3 of their three-game miniseries with Dallas. Anaheim won the second part of that set 5-2 last night, two days after dispatching the Stars 4-0 in Dallas. And while the Stars also lost some notable players prior to yesterday’s trade deadline, Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau says his team is certainly not taking them lightly.
“Even though the scores haven’t indicated it, both games have been hard-fought, said Boudreau, whose Ducks take on those Stars tomorrow night at Honda Center. “Those games had a lot of speed and everything else that goes with that. We’re a team that can’t afford to take anybody lightly. Our goal is to work as hard as the other team and get one more goal than them.”
Having traded away veterans Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy in the past few days, Dallas has had to rely on its younger players to fill those gaps. “I’ve been in the situation where your lineup is depleted with injuries or whatever, and the young kids work so hard that it makes it tough,” Boudreau said. “These guys have something to prove. I’m sure Dallas felt comfortable trading those other guys because they have these guys. And they sure made it tough on us last night.”
The Ducks made their own trade before Wednesday’s noon PT deadline, acquiring center Matthew Lombardi for Brendan McMillan (who was playing at AHL Norfolk). The speedy Lombardi, who will wear No. 19 with the Ducks, took part in his first practice today at Honda Center.
“It was good,” said the low-key Lombardi. “It seems like a really energetic group, real positive feel out there. It was a fun practice, good energy.”
Lombardi, who skated with fellow speedsters Teemu Selanne and Emerson Etem during drills today, didn’t exactly have an enviable end to his first practice in Anaheim. As the loser of the post-practice shootout competition, he was left picking up players’ gloves and helmets and putting them back in their lockers.
“I was definitely on the wrong end of that,” he said. “At least I got to know the room a little bit, where everybody sits.”
That initiation aside, Lombardi said he’s looking forward to being in Anaheim. “Obviously I’ve come to a great team and it’s definitely a pleasure to be here,” said the 31-year-old veteran playing with the fifth team of his NHL career. “The talent this team has is amazing. They’re a tough team to play against, and the firepower they have up front and the depth they have is great. It’s pretty cool to get an opportunity to play with these guys.”
Boudreau said that with just 11 regular season games remaining, easing Lombardi into the fold isn’t an option. “We have to throw him in there full bore,” Boudreau said. “He’s doesn’t have a lot of time to get indoctrinated to how we play.
“His speed is his major asset. We’ve got some guys like him who can really skate, like Emerson, Cogliano, Saku, Winnik. You can go on and on. There is a good combination of speed and size there, so hopefully he’ll be a good fit.”
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