Boudreau’s hunch pays off as Khudobin leads Ducks to first win


Before tonight’s game against Minnesota, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau raised some eyebrows when he decided to start Anton Khudobin over Frederik Andersen.

The Ducks came into Sunday’s contest with an 0-3-1 record and starting a goaltender with a 13.97 goals-against-average and a .625 save percentage didn’t seem like a good idea.

Boudreau’s seemingly crazy decision ended up working in his team’s favor, as Khudobin stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the Wild.

The 29-year-old didn’t always make it look easy, but he was effective enough to be named the game’s second star.

In other positive news, the Ducks actually scored!

Cam Fowler‘s goal in the opening frame was Anaheim’s first since Sami Vatanen scored in the second period of last Monday’s game against Vancouver.

The goalless drought lasted just over 173 minutes.

Less than six minutes later, the Ducks accomplished another feat when Rickard Rakell became the team’s first forward to tally a goal this season.

Mike Santorelli and Hampus Lindholm also found the back of the net while both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf picked up their first points of the season.

The Ducks will embark on a five-game road trip starting on Thursday. They will travel to Nashville, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis before returning home to face Nashville on Nov. 1.

Anaheim’s lack of work ethic has ‘been the eye-opener,’ says Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau thinks he knows why his Anaheim Ducks — who were one win away from the Stanley Cup Final last year — are 0-3 to start the year, and have only mustered a single goal.

“The work ethic, that’s been the eye opener,” Boudreau said, per the OC Register. “We’ve been out-worked. The other teams are quick that we’ve played. But they’re quick because they’re working hard to be quick. And we’re waiting for things to happen. We’re coasting back in the zones.”

This is not the start many envisioned from the Ducks.

After losing to the eventual champion Blackhawks in last year’s Western Conference Final, Anaheim went out and loaded up this summer, acquiring the likes of Kevin Bieksa, Carl Hagelin, Shawn Horcoff, Chris Stewart and Mike Santorelli. The moves were designed to upgrade the club in a number of areas — toughness, veteran experience, size and, in the case of Hagelin, pure speed — but nothing seems to be clicking.


The Ducks have an opportunity to right the ship tonight at home against Colorado, a team that’s in a state of flux itself. The Avs will reportedly start backup netminder Reto Berra this evening, in place of struggling No. 1 Seymon Varlamov, so the Ducks could use this opportunity to not just break out offensively, but also salvage the rest of their current four-game homestand, which ends on Sunday with a date against the Wild.

After that, Anaheim heads out on a grueling five-game road swing through the notoriously tough Central Division, with stops in Nashville, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.

Ducks hire Preston as Boudreau’s assistant

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Anaheim Ducks have hired Rich Preston as the third assistant coach on Bruce Boudreau’s staff.

The Ducks announced the hiring Monday.

Preston is a veteran coach with NHL experience as an assistant in Chicago, Calgary and San Jose. He also has been a head coach in the WHL for Regina and Lethbridge, where he also served as general manager from 2009 to 2013.

The 63-year-old Preston played for Chicago and New Jersey in the NHL after starting his pro career with Houston and Winnipeg in the WHA.

Preston will work alongside Trent Yawney and Paul MacLean on Boudreau’s staff. Scott Niedermayer is expected to do more scouting than coaching in his hybrid role for the Ducks this season.

The Ducks open the regular season Saturday in San Jose.

Boudreau: It’s ‘not a rule’ that Cup winners need an elite d-man

Hampus Lindholm

The one time the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, they had Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defense.

In the past couple of years, they’ve been eliminated by teams with Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith, each of whom went on to hoist the Cup with the Kings and Blackhawks, respectively.

And so the Ducks will enter another season with hopes that one of their d-men can be “that guy” for them.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau is fully aware that most Cup winners have that one stud back there.

“In recent memory, it’s always happened,” he told the O.C. Register.


“It’s not a rule that it has to be.”

Indeed it’s not. For example, the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. Their six d-men when they dispatched the Oilers were Mike Commodore, Bret Hedican, Aaron Ward, Frantisek Kaberle, Glen Wesley, and Niclas Wallin.

Suffice to say, that team’s main strength was not the blue line.

This year, the Ducks have seven d-men on one-way contracts: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Clayton Stoner, Simon Despres, and Korbinian Holzer.

If Lindholm or Fowler can develop into a Norris Trophy candidate, great. (Both seem to have the desire. Lindholm, 21, says he wants to be “that key guy to always have an impact in a game”; Fowler, 23, feels “like it’s my time now to kind of show what I can do.”)

If not, the Ducks’ defense boasts an impressive mix of talent and experience regardless, with blue-chipper Shea Theodore still to come.

Related: Anaheim’s Lindholm on the verge of big things

Poll: Is Boudreau the right coach to lead Anaheim to a championship?

Bruce Boudreau

That was Mike Milbury and Keith Jones dissecting Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau after losing Game 7 of the 2015 Western Conference Final to the Chicago Blackhawks. That defeat reduced Boudreau’s record in Game 7s to 1-6, which is particularly noteworthy given that no other bench boss has ever lost six Game 7s.

That’s led to people questioning if Boudreau is the type of coach that can led his team to victory in the big games, which is vital if the goal is a championship. At the same time, Boudreau has a phenomenal 363-167-69 regular season record and has gotten his growing squad further in the playoffs with each recent campaign. So is too much being made of one poor statistical?

For his part, Boudreau doesn’t feel those Game 7 losses were because of him specifically.

“I got to believe that it isn’t (reflective of anything),” Boudreau told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 back in June. “People love to relay bad stats to people, but seven games have gone to a Game 7. I don’t win them and I don’t think I’m losing them.”

Do you agree with his assessment?