Anaheim faces Detroit tonight for the first time since its Game 7 elimination in last year’s playoffs and, to hear defenseman Ben Lovejoy explain it, the Ducks wants little revenge.
“Still burns,” Lovejoy said, as per the OC Register. “We were a good team last year. We were a proud team. Proud group of guys.
“We want to win because we would like to do everything we can, any chance we get, to get back at them.”
While others on the team — Corey Perry and Dustin Penner, most notably — have refrained from attaching additional meaning to tonight’s game, it’s obviously last year’s opening-round loss still lingers with the Ducks. The team has taken to wearing “Unfinished Business” shirts in the dressing room and, following their elimination, spoke at length about missing an opportunity after leading Detroit in the series, 3-2.
“We have a lot of respect for the Red Wings as a team,” Lovejoy continued. “They’ve been the class of the NHL for the last 20 years. But we felt that we had a better season than them last year. Everybody in this room is still fired up after we lost.”
The Ducks are being presented with a prime chance for revenge tonight. Detroit comes into Tuesday’s contest on the limp — Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser are all on IR, while Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist will sit out as both are undergoing concussion protocol.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.