Ducks morning skate notes: Bourque back in starting lineup

Rene Bourque will be in the lineup for the Anaheim Ducks’ final game before the All-Star Break, Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames. 

Since being acquired from Montreal earlier this season, Bourque mostly has been a constant presence in the Anaheim lineup, but with only six points in 21 games and 12 other healthy forwards, Bourque has been a victim of the numbers game and coach Bruce Boudreau has opted to scratch the winger in four of the last eight games. 

"To stay in the lineup every night, I’ve probably got to play a little better than that," he said. "I think I’m playing better than I was in Montreal but I’ve got to keep climbing."

Bourque hasn’t scored a goal in nine games, and he’s only scored twice since he came to Anaheim. He’s been productive on certain lines, but his numbers don’t exactly reflect that production. 

"When you get in the lineup, you can’t be ordinary," Boudreau said. "When you’re in the lineup, you’ve got to do something, not just being there. You’ve got to do something on a positive note that helps us win."

Devante Smith-Pelly will be the odd man out, sitting in favor of Bourque. Both players have spent time on a few different lines, and although Bourque said he might play better on just one rather than moving up and down, he knows that’s not exactly how Boudreau runs things. 

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A player who many thought would benefit more from a change in location and atmosphere, Bourque is happy to be in Anaheim and says the slump is purely numbers-based. He like his consistency with the Ducks so far.

"I’m skating better and moving my feet more," he said. "I’m playing better defensively. I’m in better shape than before I got here. I just feel good."

Prior to the morning skate, the Ducks sent defenseman Marc Fistric down to the AHL.  

Scouting the Flames

The break begins Thursday, and while some might be awaiting it a little more eagerly than others, Boudreau wants to drive that point home and make sure no one cuts any corners against a Pacific Division team. 

"The break doesn’t start until tomorrow," Boudreau said. "We can’t be sitting here thinking that we’re starting it already. Especially against a team that is so committed and doing so well on this trip."

Thus far, Calgary has swept its Pacific Division road trip, winning the last two in shootouts against San Jose and Los Angeles. The Flames have been streaky all season but their goaltending has been bolstered as of late by Joni Ortio. There’s not a huge book on the 23-year-old Finnish netminder – he’s only played four games this season – but Ortio has won all four. He was the first goalie off the ice Wednesday, leaving former Duck Jonas Hiller to back him up.

"Just hopefully you shoot it where aint," Boudreau said. "With all the good goalies in the league, you do the same thing: You’ve got to get traffic, you’ve got to shoot, you’ve got to go to the net and the rebounds that you do get, you’ve got to get in the air, you can’t get them on the ice. Goalies are too big and strong to take the bottom of the net out all the way, whether it’s the Calgary goalie or any goalie in the NHL."

The real scandals of Orange County

During the last break in play, captain Ryan Getzlaf took it upon himself to organize a family skate for his teammates at Anaheim Ice. The league frowned upon that move, questioning whether or not it broke collective bargaining agreement rules and even launched an investigation before eventually clearing Getzlaf and the organization.  

When asked if he was worried about another "scandal" during the break, Boudreau seemed surprised that the incident was even considered a scandal in the first place.

"What’d we do?" he asked. "I thought ‘Scandal’ was a TV show."