By Michael Walters
It has seemed like forever since the Anaheim Ducks have played an actual game. In fact, the Ducks have only played one game in the last 10 days. The Ducks had a chance to gain ground in the Pacific Division when they last played against Carolina, but ended up losing 5-1. The very next day, Anaheim found themselves in last place in the Pacific Division with 27 points.
However, not all in lost in Anaheim.
The Ducks are four points behind the second place San Jose Sharks and have played one less game. Excluding Los Angeles, the remaining four teams (Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver) are all log jammed in between Anaheim and San Jose at 30 points a piece. The Ducks do have one game in hand against Arizona and Calgary. They have two games in hand against Edmonton and Vancouver. So there is still plenty of hockey left for the Ducks to battle for a playoff spot.
Anaheim has focused on the special teams play this week during practice. With the odd schedule and additional time off, the Ducks have had hard practices knowing the situation that they are currently in. Jiri Sekac appears ready to go for tomorrow’s contest against the Buffalo Sabres. He played one game with the San Diego Gulls to test his ankle and felt good scoring one goal with a +/- of +1 in that contest. Sekac should be officially activated off the injured reserved list soon.
Here are some quotes from practice today per the Anaheim Ducks.
On the days between games:
“We knew it was a unique time in the season where you only have one game in ten days basically in the heart of your season. We had to use it to our advantage and get some good practices in. We worked on the things we need to continue improving on. You can’t do anything about the standings when you’re not playing. The least you can do is improve as a team and work hard in practice, which I think we did. Hopefully we’ve prepared ourselves to play against a good Buffalo team.”
On the importance of the trip:
When you don’t get any points in nine days, other teams pass you and go by you. There’s a sense of urgency to get points. Everybody knows the importance of that this week. The thing is, we have to win. We have to win because players want to win. They’re used to winning and don’t like losing, and we want to be where we should be.
On the goalie situation:
Just watching practice today, you could see it’s a load off the goalies’ minds as well. I feel bad for Anton [Khudobin], but when you get two goalies, and they know they’re the goalies, there’s no questions in their minds that they can focus on the practices and the games. It looked like a relief to them more than anything else.
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