Press-Telegram (Long Beach)
Ducks grind out end to lengthy slide
If the Ducks were mired in a nine-game winless skid in past seasons, they could have eased the tension by going to dinner together, dropping the bill in the laps of their rookies. Or they could have called off practice and gone bowling or held a ping pong, pool or golf tournament.
One time, they scrimmaged outdoors on the frozen Rideau Canal in Ottawa, taking a break from the grind of the 2005-06 season. Teemu Selanne and Todd Marchant served as coaches. Goaltender J-S Giguere shed his pads and mask and played forward, scoring a goal.
Two days, later the Ducks beat the Senators.
Team bonding exercises are banned because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. Players cannot go to dinner together, on the road or at home. Bowling, ping pong, pool and golf in groups are forbidden activities. Their time at the rink is limited, too.
So, what’s a struggling team to do?
In the Ducks’ case, the answer was to keep grinding through what longtime team captain Ryan Getzlaf called “probably the most challenging (time) I’ve encountered here in my 15 years.” So much of their past lives has been altered and not in a favorable way.
“There’s a lot of different methods of breaking out of slumps and team troubles and all that kind of stuff,” Getzlaf said. “But most of them involve something off the ice, where you get together as a group. You do some things as a group, a team dinner or whatever it is.
You’re just not able to do any of that stuff. You have to find a way to do it in the locker room, night in and night out.”
In the end, the Ducks ended their 0-6-3 winless streak Saturday with a determined effort that featured Getzlaf’s goal in overtime, miraculous goaltending by Ryan Miller, a career night by Troy Terry, a three-point game by Rickard Rakell and Kevin Shattenkirk’s first goal with the Ducks.
It added up to a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in OT.
“The frustration goes up and down,” Getzlaf said. “It’s not like we were getting blown out. In a lot of the games, we had the lead. We’ve just got to figure out how to play confidently throughout the whole game. It’s an opportunity to build something and learn from it.”
Terry, a Denver native who played at the University of Denver, recorded the first two-goal game of his career and fired a season-high seven shots on goal Saturday against the Avalanche. He scored even-strength goals at 4:26 of the second period and 13:03 of the third.
“He was dancing tonight and he was feeling it,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “It was probably one of his best games we’ve seen all season. Just a real good performance, and that whole line was good (Saturday), him, (Max) Comtois and ‘Getzy.’”
Comtois assisted on Terry’s second goal as the linemates totaled three goals and three assists.