Three things to know about Ducks during the Olympic break
The Ducks cooled off after a red-hot start, but coach Bruce Boudreau says don't jump off the bandwagon yet.
Despite recent struggles, the Ducks aren't in danger of losing their playoff spot anytime soon.
Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images / NHLI
By Abbey Mastracco
The league-leading Ducks cooled off a little bit since their big Stadium Series win over the Kings.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau admitted the team hasn't been playing very good hockey, but warned everyone not to jump off the bandwagon. An emphatic win over the Predators on the road last weekend proved Boudreau right, but he's been the coach of some teams that started off hot and sputtered to the finish.
With an NHL-best 87 points and 41 wins, the Ducks aren't in danger of losing their playoff spot anytime soon. But the Olympic break couldn't have come at a better time for Anaheim.
Here are three things to look for following the Olympics.
Ducks beat Predators to snap three-game skid READ MORE
The first one was already made when Emerson Etem was called up for the last two games before the break but sent right back down on Monday to play in the AHL during the break. Etem, a local product out of Long Beach, was credited with the game-winning goal in Nashville, showing that he may finally be ready to stay with the big club.
Boudreau thinks Etem will bring some much-needed energy to a somewhat beleaguered group. Etem says he is just trying to do what he's told and learn from the others on his line and in the locker room.
There has not been any other transaction made to indicate that the Ducks are about to make a big, splashy trade once the freeze is lifted. Reassigning Etem is the only move that has been made since the break.
The Ducks are far from being in dire straights. At times, they have been their own worst enemies. Sloppy play with the puck and defensive lapses has done them in recent losses, but there isn't one particular aspect of the game the Ducks need to improve on. It's consistency that is key.
Special teams could improve and has shown flashes of improvement, but once again, its been an area of inconsistency. The sharp, focused team that has been so dominant this season needs to return.
"That's why you work so hard," Corey Perry said following the win over the Predators. "You work hard and you create your own bounces and that's what we did tonight. It helped us along the way."
Come June, we'll find out if the mayor of the world's hockey capital is some sort of oracle. Rob Ford is predicting a return to the Southland for the Stanley Cup on his new YouTube talkshow, Ford Nation. His brother Doug, the mayor's cohost, predicted either a repeat for the Blackhawks or a cup win for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
But Ford is putting his money on the Ducks.
"I'm going to tell you, Anaheim is going to win the cup," Ford said. "With Corey Perry, with (Ryan) Getzlaf, these guys were picked to the Olympic team."
He's also predicting that Perry and Getzlaf will lead Canada to an Olympic gold medal.