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Bieksa’s back for the Ducks; Boudreau calls out Perry

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The Anaheim Ducks lost home-ice advantage by falling to the Nashville Predators in Game 1. They’re gaining an important defenseman back for Game 2.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed that Kevin Bieksa will be in the lineup on Sunday.

The rugged blueliner logged 21 minutes per game during the regular season and boasts 71 games of playoff experience on his resume.

Getting a little edgier may be the biggest gain, depending upon who you ask:

Speaking of getting more, Boudreau also called out Corey Perry‘s line before Game 2.

Spicy.

Perry generated an assist and five shots on goal, yet he also suffered a -2 rating in Game 1. That helper also came on the power play, which means it wasn’t the result of that line.

Spreading Anaheim’s wealth around the lineup worked during the regular season, yet you have to wonder if people will clamor for the reunion of Perry and Ryan Getzlaf if the Ducks offense sputters on Sunday.

That situation, Bieksa’s return and the increased pressure on this team gives this Game 2 plenty of sizzle.

Here’s how you can watch the action (and all of Sunday’s games).

Boudreau: There’s a ‘dark cloud’ over Getzlaf this season

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To say this has been a tough campaign for Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf would be an understatement.

Just ask his head coach.

“It just seems that this year, there’s that dark cloud,” Bruce Boudreau said in the wake of Sunday’s loss to Detroit, per the L.A. Times. “When he makes a mistake, no matter how well he’s played during the course of the game, it seems to cost us.”

The latest Getz-gaffe?

Check it out:

That’s the Anaheim captain turning the puck over in his own zone, leading to Riley Sheahan‘s game-winning goal with less than four minutes remaining.

Getzlaf admitted he needed to “make a better play” in this instance, explaining that, because the puck was rolling, he tried to control it first rather than quickly whipping it away to safety.

He then took ownership of the error.

“A mistake like that, it hurts,” he said. “Obviously I can’t do those things.”

As mentioned above, it’s been a season of mistakes for Getzlaf. Sunday’s was the latest, but hardly the most egregious — that came against Arizona earlier in the campaign:

At this point, it’s fair to wonder if — not when — Anaheim can turn this thing around. The Ducks are now at the midway point of the season (Sunday’s game against Detroit was No. 41 of 82), and their leader is still making costly, costly mistakes.

What’s more, the offense looks no closer to breaking out than it did before. Anaheim still sits dead last in the NHL in goals per game, at 1.85 per, and has scored just 11 goals in its last seven games.

Boudreau: Gibson ‘100 percent’ after injury scare, could play Friday

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Given that John Gibson had to exit Wednesday’s ugly loss to Toronto and, on Thursday, the Ducks made a trade to get a goalie, it’s fair that some were concerned about Gibson’s long-term health.

But according to Bruce Boudeau, there’s nothing to worry about.

The Anaheim head coach gave his starter a clean bill of healthy on Thursday, just minutes after Gibson was back at practice, participating with his teammates:

Named an NHL All-Star for the first time earlier this week, Gibson is a guy the Ducks simply cannot afford to lose. Yes, Frederik Andersen is a capable starter and yes, the team does play well defensively — but there’s no denying impact Gibson’s had on the team since coming up from AHL San Diego.

Gibson is 8-5-2 with a 1.75 GAA and .929 save percentage since his recall, helping Anaheim force itself back into the playoff picture in the lowly Pacific Division.

Boudreau, who recognizes the need for wins right now, even went so far as to say he’s not ruling out Gibson for Friday’s game against St. Louis.

 

‘This isn’t Junior B’: Boudreau incensed over costly giveaways to Rangers

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These are frustrating times for the Anaheim Ducks.

They sit last in the Western Conference standings as the holiday break begins. They’re also coming off an overtime loss on Tuesday to the New York Rangers that could’ve possibly been avoided had it not been for two costly Anaheim turnovers that led to Derick Brassard goals for New York.

Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim’s head coach, wasn’t at all pleased.

“You go up the middle when all he had to do was go to the side, his guy was wide open too,” said Boudreau, as per NHL.com. “Use the boards. It’s a simple play.

“The mistakes we’re making, this is the NHL, this isn’t the Junior B at 14 years old when you expect that.

“This is the National Hockey League. Those guys gotta make better plays coming out of our zone.”

Below, you’ll find video evidence of what Boudreau was talking about.

First, it was defenseman Josh Manson giving the puck up to Brassard in the slot, immediately leading to a goal in the first period:

Then, it was Jiri Sekac turning the puck over to Mats Zuccarello, who fed it over to Brassard for his second goal of the game in the third period:

Blamed by Boudreau: Ducks’ best players take some heat

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With a pathetic 55 goals for in 30 games, the Anaheim Ducks are easily the lowest-scoring team in the NHL.

It’s staggering to consider that this could happen, even if Ryan Getzlaf did go under the knife early in the 2015-16 season. And even if the bounces have been especially cruel to the Ducks.

Some might call it throwing them under the bus; others may lean more toward “sending a message” (or even just honesty amid frustration). Either way, Bruce Boudreau acknowledged Anaheim’s scoring troubles after a troubling 3-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Getzlaf is aware of the criticism … and it’s definitely out there.

One can understand Boudreau’s frustration, yet sometimes those speak-your-mind moments precede a coaching change.

(Heck, Boudreau merely needs to look at Paul MacLean and his mustache to see how a frank moment can leave you shake, shaking it off into the sunset.)

At the same time, one cannot help but wonder: what can Boudreau do, and would a coaching change really help? It sure feels like something has to give soon …