By Adam Brady
Coming off three games in three nights – including a satisfying 2-1 win last night in Colorado – Bruce Boudreau granted a day off for a number of Ducks veterans. But many of those players showed up on the Honda Center ice anyway, eager to keep plugging along on the ninth day of training camp.
“They were scheduled to have a day off and they wanted to practice,” Boudreau said of a group that included luminaries Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dustin Penner and Francois Beauchemin. “I thought they worked pretty hard out there. There are always things you’d like to see better, but I think what we’re seeing are the signs of a team coming together.”
Despite seeing the “sloppy” play that can often be an attribute of a preseason affair, Boudreau was pleased with what he saw last night against the Avs.
“I was really impressed with the bounce back of the third game in three nights, the character the players showed going into their building and coming away with a win,” Boudreau said, referencing a 6-0 defeat the Ducks suffered the previous night to LA.
The star last night for Anaheim was 19-year-old defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who scored the eventual game winner with less than six minutes to go on the third. The power play strike was his second goal of the preseason.
“I got a nice pass from Bonino and I just tried to get it quickly to the net,” said Lindholm, taken by the Ducks with the sixth pick of the 2012 draft. “[Emerson] was in front of the net, and I was just happy to see it go in.
“We really wanted to win that game. We were skating hard and blocking shots and everything. It was a good win.
With injuries to some key Ducks defenseman, a youngster like Lindholm is among those who may get a chance to make the opening night roster. “If I get the opportunity to play, of course I’m gonna take it,” Lindholm said. “I’m just going to do everything I can to impress the coaches and staff here, work hard and show them I’m the man for the job.”
Boudreau has liked what he’s seen from Lindholm in his second training camp in Anaheim. “He’s been up and down. He makes some young kid mistakes, but at the same time, he’s starting to get confidence in his shot,” Boudreau said. “He’s played three games and has two goals and I like what I see. He can always get better defensively and be aware of the people around him. But there are an awful lot of good things about him. He’s a lot stronger than he was at this time last year.”
GIBSON BOUNCES BACK
Goalie John Gibson, Anaheim’s second round pick in 2010, gave up three goals to the Kings after being inserted at the start of the third period in that loss Tuesday night. According to Boudreau, he couldn’t wait to get another shot last night, and he responded by stopping all 18 Avs shots he faced.
“Gibson was supposed to go in [to replace starter Frederik Andersen] halfway through the game, and there was a whistle at 10:31,” Boudreau said. “I was waiting until after the 10-minute mark to put him in there. But he was out the door, he was that anxious to get in the net. He was like, I’m gonna redeem myself. And he did. He played very, very well.”
Luca Sbisa was not on the ice today, having suffered an ankle injury Monday night vs. Phoenix that will keep him out two weeks from the day of the injury.
“Coaches panic, but it’s a mild sprain,” he said. “We don’t want that thing to linger on. It’s a long year, and if you come back too soon, it can hurt you. We’re probably giving him an extra week off than he needs, but we want to make sure he’s ready for October 2.”
Francois Beauchemin, who suffered a torn ACL late last season, has said throughout camp he was aiming to return by opening night. Boudreau revealed today it may be even sooner than that.
“He’s itching to play right now, and he may play sooner than later,” Boudreau said. “We’ve taken a lot of caution. He’s taking full contact, and I’ve seen what happens if you go from a practice and you haven’t played at all, into a game. He wants to play to get a little bit game ready-to take hits.
“He’s itching to play right now. He may play sooner than later. I firmly believe he’s going to play a preseason game. If he does and – touch wood – comes out of it healthy, I certainly think he’ll be there for the opener.”
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