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Ducks earned a break . . . but was it too long?

The Ducks' busy recent schedule included a six-game trip and seven games in 12 days overall. Now they've been off since Monday. Will that blunt their momentum?

February 23, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Ducks winger Bobby Ryan (9) and center Peter Holland (74) celebrate after a goal against the Red Wings on Friday.
Ducks winger Bobby Ryan (9) and center Peter Holland (74) celebrate after… (Duane Burleson / Associated…)

Coming off a six-game trip and a home game after just one day off, the Ducks were grateful for a breather.

The question as they resume play Sunday at 5 p.m. against Colorado at Honda Center is whether going nearly a week between games will further fortify the Pacific Division leaders or dampen the momentum of a 9-1 run.

"We won't know the impact until we play a game, but I know we definitely needed a few days off from that trip," Coach Bruce Boudreau said after Saturday's practice. "Time will tell if it's adverse or good."

Boudreau gave most of the Ducks two full days off the ice after the team's last game, a 3-2 victory Monday over Columbus, which left their record 12-2-1 — better than everyone but the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

"We didn't have a lot to give in the last few games, and we were fortunate we got good goaltending," Boudreau said. "Now we have to be ready to go. With our record, we're not catching teams by surprise anymore."

Second-line forward Bobby Ryan, one of nine Ducks with four or more goals, said the break and practice sessions were valuable "for Bruce to get us back from straying from our system, cleaning up the neutral zone, making sure we're in the right place. . . . We looked at a lot of little things on video we can fix and took those into practice."

The Ducks opened their trip with an impressive 3-0 victory at Colorado on Feb. 6. The Avalanche (7-8-1) had won three of four before its 4-1 loss to the Kings on Saturday.

Ryan said it's imperative for the Ducks to capitalize on their fresh legs and "getting back into game mode" after the break, to disrupt Colorado from keeping the game close "and catching their second wind at the end."

During the break, the Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth signed a two-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season worth $5.8 million. Fasth, 30, has won all eight of his starts.

Boudreau, in keeping with tradition, was mum when asked whether Fasth or Jonas Hiller would start Sunday, or which would start Monday's game at Staples Center against the Kings.

He said defenseman Cam Fowler, sidelined since Feb. 2 because of a head injury, is "ready to play if we choose to play him."



When: 5 p.m.

Where: Honda Center.

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

Record vs. Avalanche: 1-0.

Etc.: The Avalanche will be playing the second game of a back-to-back road set. Center Matt Duchene leads Colorado with 11 assists. The Avalanche ranks 26th in the NHL in power-play scoring.

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