By Kyle Shohara
An air of optimism hovered in the Ducks locker room this morning after the team finished an optional practice at Honda Center. As disappointing as it is to come out of the first two games down 2-0, the Ducks can get right back into the series with a win in Game 3 on Thursday night at Staples Center.
“We’ve had ups and downs all season, but we’re a good team that can come back,” said winger Patrick Maroon. “We lose two and we bounce back. We can win three or four in a row. That’s what’s good about this team.”
Winger Matt Beleskey says a win on Thursday changes everything. “When you’re down 2-0 and you win one game, it’s 2-1 and it’s a whole different ballgame. There’s no time to get down and be depressed. It’s time to bear down and get ready to go.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau says he’s “tinkering” with the lineup for Game 3, but doesn’t want to make any rash decisions two days in advance. “We’ll know more tomorrow morning,” he said. “I said to the coaches, ‘Let’s think about what our roster is going to be for Thursday.’ We’ll meet tomorrow morning and see who’s best fitted for the game in LA.”
The Ducks have outshot and outhit the Kings through the first two games of this series. Anaheim has put 72 shots on net compared to LA’s 52, while delivering 107 hits compared to LA’s 83. However, goaltender Jonathan Quick has seen most of those shots with relative ease. Getting traffic in front of the net is an area of improvement the Ducks are focusing on moving forward.
“We need to get in front of the net, get into his eyes and create more traffic,” said Maroon, no stranger to mucking it up in the dirty areas. “We need to get into his head a little bit. We’re a perimeter team right now. We need to crash and bang, throw pucks at his feet and go to the net.”
Maroon says the Ducks will also have to do a better job of winning 1-on-1 battles and being first to loose pucks. “We have to compete. We need everyone in here,” he said. “We can’t have one passenger. We need all 20 of us to carry us along. If one guy is down, we have to push him. We have the character in this locker room to do that.”
Added defenseman Ben Lovejoy, “When we’re grinding and playing beneath their goal line, we’re a tough team to handle. We have some big, strong forwards and we have four lines, but right now Quick is seeing everything. It starts with being smarter and getting to the front of the net.
“We know we can beat this team. We feel we’ve had pretty even games, and they’ve come out on top. I truly believe the playoffs are all about momentum. Right now, we need to put a seed of doubt in their mind. If we win [Game 3], it’s a 2-1 series and we have momentum. We can do that.”
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