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Ducks’ Boudreau on Game 2 loss: ‘It was awful’

Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal between Detroit and Anaheim had it all — tons of scoring, a huge comeback and a dramatic OT winner to end it.

And Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau hated it.

Well, hated the role his team played in the excitement, anyway.

“It was awful,” Boudreau told the LA Times. “I have no answer for you at this point. Four goals in the first four shifts of the game is pretty amazing, and three of them were on the power play.”

Boudreau is referring to his team’s inability to stop Detroit from 1) scoring in the opening minutes of periods, and 2) scoring with the man advantage.

Justin Abdelkader potted the game’s first goal just 48 seconds into the first period. Then Johan Frazen scored 1:04 into the second period.

Franzen did it again to start the third — just 20 seconds in — and Gustav Nyquist scored 1:21 into overtime to win it.

What’s more, three of these goals came with the man advantage, including Nyquist’s game-winner. Detroit went 3-for-6 on the power play all told, this after going 1-for-4 in the series opener.

While the Ducks had to be happy with their resilience —  they scored three goals in a 10-minute span in the third to erase a 4-1 deficit — they weren’t happy with much else.

Especially the penalty kill.

“We can’t keep taking penalties, because their power play was good for them tonight like it was for us in Game 1,” said captain Ryan Getzlaf. “It was tough being shorthanded.

“But we’ll take a look and shore things up defensively and be ready for the next one.”

‘We better be ready’ versus Flames, says Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau
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After watching a Calgary team with nothing but pride on line beat the Red Wings on Wednesday, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t about to take the Flames lightly tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

“Calgary’s a great example of a team not throwing in the towel,” said Boudreau, per NHL.com. “To beat a hungry Detroit team in their last game says something to me. We better be ready.”

The Ducks are winless in their last three and a modest 5-7-2 since starting the season with an impressive 22-3-4 record. Two nights ago, they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision at home to Columbus.

Anaheim is still on track to win the Pacific Division and finish with the second seed in the Western Conference; however, Boudreau wants to make that official.

“We’ve got some guys banged up pretty good right now that are still playing through them,” he said. “We’d like to win and be able to, if it’s possible, rest some guys.”

Coach Boudreau ‘concerned’ as Ducks limp towards playoffs

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Fedor Tyutin #51 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is swarmed by his teammates after scoring the winning goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 against the Anaheim Ducks on April 17, 2013 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
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The danger of gaining a big lead over the competition in the early portion of the regular season is that you might lose steam going into the playoffs.

The Chicago Blackhawks have largely avoided that and the Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t slowed down even after surging past the competition in the Eastern Conference.

The Anaheim Ducks have been a different story. They are 5-7-2 in their last 14 games and lost their third contest in a row on Wednesday.

“I’m concerned,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau admitted to NHL.com following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I mean, when you want to win all the time, it’s a concern … you can’t use fatigue anymore as an excuse. It’s the same for everybody and these guys – it was their fourth game in six nights. What are you going to do?”

Even factoring in their recent struggles, not much has changed for the Anaheim Ducks from a seeding perspective. They’ve already secured their playoff spot and have a comfortable seven-point cushion in the battle for the Pacific Division. They might slip from the second to third seed, but even that seems highly unlikely.

So they don’t have much left to play for. Certainly not as much as a squad like the Blue Jackets, which are still fighting to get into the postseason. Teams want to stay sharp regardless, but at this point Boudreau hopes that their struggles are simply because they’ve all-but locked up the second seed.

“Deep down, I hope that’s the case,” Boudreau said. “If we’re playing as good as we can possibly play right now, then we haven’t picked it up as much as other teams have picked it up down the stretch.”

The Ducks will play in Calgary on Friday and then in Edmonton on Sunday and Monday. The Oilers and Flames won’t advance to the postseason, so those games will be a good opportunity for Anaheim to regain some lost momentum.

Boudreau stresses Anaheim’s lack of goal scoring of late

Bruce Boudreau
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For a good part of the season, scoring goals wasn’t a big problem for the Anaheim Ducks. Things as of late aren’t quite so hot for them and after dropping a 2-1 decision to the rival L.A. Kings last night, coach Bruce Boudreau let it be known.

L.A. Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen heard it from Boudreau after last night’s game about how some guys are in a bit of a drought.

“We had chances to take the lead. We had chances to tie it up. We just didn’t get it done,” Boudreau said. “We aren’t scoring any goals. Look at the numbers of guys who haven’t scored in a long time now. What our strength at the beginning of the year was that everybody was scoring now it’s a weakness because nobody is scoring. To win hockey games you have to score goals”

Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register highlighted some of the guys that aren’t producing of late.

Bobby Ryan has one goal in his last 13 games, Doug Winnik has no goals in his last 19 games and just one in his last 38 after a torrid start, and Saku Koivu hasn’t scored in his last 15 games and has just one in his last 22. That’s not getting it done at all.

Piling on to this, the Ducks have cooled off being an average team with eight losses in their last 13 games. Yes, they’re going to the playoffs but they’re looking less intimidating at the wrong time.

Boudreau backs Beauchemin for Norris consideration

Francois Beauchemin
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If Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had his way, Francois Beauchemin’s name would be coming up in discussions for the Norris Trophy.

“It should come up,” Boudreau told the OC Register (paywall) about Beauchemin being recognized as one of the NHL’s top defensemen. “On what he’s done and where we are in the standings and how much he plays and how important he is to us — all those factors.”

Beauchemin, 32, is enjoying arguably the finest campaign of his career. He leads the Ducks in points (21) through 36 games — pro-rated, that’s a 47-point pace over an 82 game season.

He also ranks second among all NHL defensemen in plus-minus (+22), eighth among all skaters in blocked shots (85) and averages over 23 minutes for the second-best team in the Western Conference.

Boudreau figures those numbers and Beauchemin’s overall importance to the Ducks should put him in the Norris race — a race that appears to be pretty wide open.

Minnesota’s Ryan Suter, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Montreal’s PK Subban are three of the names that routinely come up, though the likes of St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar have all gotten some buzz.

Boudreau added that Beauchemin’s chances may be hindered by playing in the Pacific Time Zone.

“[Beauchemin’s name] doesn’t come up because we’re not in the East,” Boudreau explained.  “He doesn’t have a point a game. He’s not on ‘NHL Tonight’ every night.”