The Ducks took part in their usual game day morning skate at Honda Center prior to tonight’s pivotal Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings.
With two of the next three games at Honda Center (if the series reaches a Game 7), several Ducks discussed the importance of home ice in what is now a best-of-three series.
“You play the whole year to earn home ice advantage,” said Nick Bonino. “We pack the house every home playoff game. It’s a lot of fun playing in front of the fans. They’re always loud so it gives us some good momentum.”
“It’s good for us to get back in front of our home fans,” Kyle Palmieri said. “We’ve got to have a strong start because the last game at home, they came out and scored a couple goals early in the periods. We’ve got to get off to a good start and try to play a full 60-minute game. We’re definitely prepared to do that.”
With all of five postseason games under his belt (including a game against Nashville in 2011), Palmieri said he’s starting to get a feel for what it takes to withstand the rigors of the postseason. “I wouldn’t say I’m a seasoned vet,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m definitely starting to get a good feel for what it takes. It’s tough on you, especially with the travel and playing every other day.
“We got used to playing every other day when we had that stretch of games in the middle of the season that probably helped us a lot as far as what you need to do to recover and be at your best for the next game.”
Another rookie to postseason hockey is Long Beach native Emerson Etem, who’s attracting a lot of attention from the media these days. The 20-year-old is making an impact in this series with his speed and tenacity, and head coach Bruce Boudreau shared his thoughts on the young forward.
“He’s earned what he’s playing,” Boudreau said. “He starts off every night on the fourth line, but as the game goes, if he deserves more, he’s getting more. If somebody’s not playing as well, he jumps up.
“For a young man, he’s certainly grown by leaps and bounds from a year ago. If he keeps growing, he’ll be somebody the Ducks will be very happy to have for years to come.”
After the morning skate, members of the media gathered around Etem, who emphasized simplicity and putting forth a full 60-minute effort.
“We’ve been getting a lot of chances,” said Etem. “We just need to play in the moment and bear down. As long as we keep playing simple, play a full 60 minutes, we should be all right.
“We’ve got to focus on our game. Getting in first on the forecheck, getting after their defense, creating those turnovers in the offensive zone, and just getting pucks to the net. We need to shoot more and capitalize on those rebounds.”
NOTE: Boudreau gave an update on injured defenseman Toni Lydman, who wasn’t on the ice this morning. “He's still got headaches,” Boudreau said. “Talking to him this morning, he says he's feeling a lot better. [Headaches] are nowhere near as intense as they were. But as to where he is compared to when he's going to play, I couldn't give you an answer.”
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