DALLAS -- Ryan Getzlaf, his face still beat up, sat at his locker in the visiting dressing room at American Airlines Center and made it clear that, despite a 2-0 series lead, he believes the Anaheim Ducks can and must play better.
"We have to play with the puck a little bit better,” said Getzlaf, who had a goal and an assist in the same week his family welcomed a baby girl. “I thought that last game we turned it over a little bit more than we’re used to, and we let them come at us at the start of the game as opposed to starting on time. That’s kind of our main focus is to get going here at the drop of the puck."
Monday provides a great opportunity for the Ducks to take firm control of the series and attempt to decrease the decibel level of what’s expected to be a raucous home crowd for the Dallas Stars, who haven’t played in the postseason in Dallas since 2008.
"We’ve got to come out strong," said defenseman Stephane Robidas, who played most of the season in Dallas before being traded to Anaheim. "The fans here are going to be pumped. Everyone will be wearing 'Victory Green.' It’s going to be a really good atmosphere."
And that’s something that doesn’t seem to faze the Ducks. Anaheim had 26 road wins, second in the league to only the Colorado Avalanche. Playing in someone else’s building hasn’t bugged them at all.
"I think we play the same way," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said following Anaheim’s practice on Sunday afternoon. "We don’t deviate from how we play. There are no valleys and not a lot of peaks. When you play that way, it’s usually a successful tour for you."
The immediate goal on Monday will be to avoid a struggling first period. Anaheim watched as the Stars came out as the aggressors and got an early 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of Game 2. The Ducks took advantage of Stars mistakes and wrestled the lead back, eventually winning a one-goal game. But they expect a similar Stars push in Game 3.
"I thought we sat back," Getzlaf said. "The first 10 minutes of the hockey game, we were waiting to see what they were going to do. They came out swinging. I think we were being outshot 9-1 at one point. Those are things we’ll address."
Robidas knows that the Ducks will get the Stars’ best effort.
"They’re going to come out really hard," Robidas said. "It’s a team that never quits. I’ve been with that team for most of the year, and they never quit. It doesn’t matter what the score is, they have guys with a lot of pride on the other side, lots of skill and they won’t quit. There’s a reason they made the playoffs. They found a way to make it, and you’ve got to give them credit."
The Ducks say they’ll be ready. The plan: take control of the series with a chance to end it in Anaheim, if necessary. To do that, they need a win in Game 3 or 4.