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Bruce Boudreau wants Ducks to keep driving hard

With a few days off after Monday's home game against Columbus, the coach is looking for another all-out effort by the team.

February 18, 2013|By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
  • Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has led Anaheim to the second-best record in the NHL.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has led Anaheim to the second-best record in… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )

Bruce Boudreau knows a letdown game when he sees one, so even though the Ducks coach is enthused about his team's recent road brilliance, he's going to take a hard line in Monday's home date against last-place Columbus.

"Let's not take the brakes off now," Boudreau said Sunday of his message to the team that after Monday won't play again until Feb. 24 at home. "There's no way we have a right to take any team lightly. ... My job is to not let us look forward to those days off, the time with family."

The Ducks might also be tempted to rest on the success in their rearview mirror too.

By defeating Nashville, 3-2, by shootout Saturday, the Ducks (11-2-1) capped a franchise-record 5-1 trip that included victories against St. Louis, unbeaten-in-regulation Chicago and always difficult Detroit.

They won three of the games by shootout and trailed in four of the five triumphs, improving to 8-1 in February while rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth remains unbeaten in eight starts.

"I think if I learned anything it's that they're resilient," Boudreau said. "They continue to believe if we're trailing. They don't get down if we're down a goal. They've persevered, pushed through being tired, and against some very good teams.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see that. If we get down in the future, I know they'll take the approach of working through it."

Boudreau said he'll consider reinserting Jonas Hiller as goaltender following Monday morning's skate at Honda Center after Fasth played Friday and Saturday, making 32 saves in a strong effort at Nashville.

Hiller was the starting goaltender when the season began, but Fasth's emergence and Hiller's lower-body injury have kept him sidelined.

"It would be a good place to get him in," Boudreau said.

Also, Boudreau's move to place Matt Beleskey into the first line with captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry has paid off with Beleskey scoring a goal in each of the last two games.

Is it a permanent move?

"I've moved all these lines," Boudreau said of previously slotting Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano in that line. "You just do what you think will work at that time. It makes sense," to keep Beleskey there, "but I can't be counted on to always do sensible things."

The coach also came off as omniscient in placing recent call-up Patrick Maroon in a fourth line that helped the team navigate through Saturday's fatigue. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Maroon scored a goal.

"If any of those younger guys are playing in the second line with," Bobby "Ryan or," "[Teemu] Selanne, the mindset could be, 'Don't screw this up, get those guys the puck.' But when they're playing together with their peers they came up together with, it's more compatible.

"Maroon's a good, big-bodied guy who's good at protecting the puck down low in the opponent's zone, and he's not afraid to go to the net."

TONIGHT

VS. COLUMBUS

When: 7.

Where: Honda Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.

Record vs. Blue Jackets (2011-12): 2-1-1.

Update: Columbus is last in the Central Division, ranking 28th in goals per game (2.2) and 25th in power-play percentage (13.6%) after the Ducks on Saturday killed off all five of Nashville's five power-play opportunities.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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