There are plenty of questions heading into the Anaheim Ducks’ upcoming series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Bruce Boudreau’s putting a big one to rest, as he told the OC Register that he’s sure that Corey Perry will play in Game 1.
Boudreau said as much even as Perry skips a skating session or two.
“With the time we have off, there’s no rush to get Corey Perry back on the ice,” Boudreau said. “He’s going to get a couple practices before the game and he’s going to play Sunday. There’s no doubt in our minds about that.”
Many had their doubts considering how he left the ice in Game 5 against the Calgary Flames:
He looked tentative when he returned. Of course, he also scored the goal to send them to round three:
Now, Boudreau didn’t say that Perry will be 100 percent, but many would argue that few are at full-strength during this time of year.
When it comes to regular season success, Bruce Boudreau doesn’t have many equals. Between his past tenure as the head coach of the Washington Capitals and his current gig with the Anaheim Ducks, he has a 363-167-69 record and a points percentage (.664) higher than any other coach that’s served in at least 500 games. That includes the legendary Scotty Bowman, who finished his career with a .657 points percentage.
Boudreau doesn’t get a lot of credit for his regular season success though because his teams haven’t excelled beyond that. In contrast to Bowman’s nine championships as a head coach, Boudreau hadn’t reached the Conference Final until this year.
“It’s a relief that I won’t get asked that question anymore,” Boudreau told NHL.com. “I’m sure now it will be, ‘Well, you’ve never been to the Cup Final.’ For tonight I’m really happy that question won’t be asked of me too often anymore.”
Of course, the way to avoid that question too would be to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Western Conference Final. Anaheim largely cruised through the regular season and only needed nine games to eliminate Winnipeg and Calgary in the first two rounds.
Chicago is an entirely different beast though. The Blackhawks have no shortage of veteran players with postseason success. They possess both star talent and depth. They also earned 4-1 victories against the Ducks in their last two meetings.
This series looks like an uphill battle for Anaheim, but at least Boudreau is closer than ever to his ultimate goal.
Line combinations change frequently in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks aren’t shy about trying out different wingers alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Perhaps they’ve found a more permanent fit in Patrick Maroon, though?
It makes sense in many ways.
Most obviously, the 27-year-old matches up with Perry and Getzlaf in providing a physical presence. NHL.com lists him at 231 lbs., pretty hefty for league standards. He’s been productive in the playoffs so far (four points in five games) and appears to be the Ducks dynamic duo’s most frequent linemate.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told NHL.com that it’s all about Maroon becoming more reliable.
“When you’ve only been in this League for a little over two years, the consistency sometimes isn’t there,” Boudreau said. “That’s the only thing that’s plagued him through the course of the year. When he’s on top of his game, he’s a big force for us, but he’s back on that line because he’s been consistent of late and he’s been playing the same way. There’s no letdown in his game.”
“No letdown” is also a good way to describe how the Ducks played against the Flames in Game 1. We’ll see if Maroon & Co. can keep their impressive run going on Sunday night.