ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Typically, Bruce Boudreau focuses on the opposing goalie during pregame warmups, eyeing him the whole time and trying to get a feel for what's coming.
The Anaheim Ducks' coach swallowed pretty hard before Game 2, seeing a star goalie whose body language said it all. His team having launched 72 shots in two games at Jonathan Quick but only beating him three times, Boudreau sees a version of Quick that's reminiscent of the one from 2012, one who won the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP.
So with that in mind, it was apparent that whatever Boudreau communicated to his dressing room was received loud and clear, because every single player Tuesday was on message.
"We have to be a little bit more determined to get to the front of the net," star winger Corey Perry said. "We talked about it last night, it's those second opportunities. Quick is a world-class goalie, those are the type of goalies that if they see the puck, they will stop it. You got to have those second opportunities, you got to be able to get to the front of the net and you have to be willing to get there.''
From veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin: "Not enough second chances, and the first shots we haven't often had screens in front of him. We want to have a better net presence to prevent him from seeing shots. At the same time, to also have guys there for rebounds.''
And, finally, from Ducks winger Matt Beleskey: "Getting more to the net and getting more quality chances on him, you can't let him see the puck. A goalie like that, if he sees it, he's probably going to stop it."
You get the picture. The Ducks understand that if they're going to dig out of this 2-0 Western Conference semifinal series hole heading into Game 3 Thursday night at Staples Center that Quick 's life has to become more miserable. Thing is, it's also what the San Jose Sharks were saying in the final few games of their first-round collapse against the Kings. Seeing it, understanding it, and saying it, are all different than actually going out and doing something about it.
"We can talk about certain things, but their defense is good," Boudreau said. "They didn't win the Jennings Trophy just by luck. They're a good defensive team, and they block shots, so we've got to find ways to get around their big bodies and not let Quick see the puck. It's easy to say, not that easy to do."
The first step, however, is realizing that there's a problem. Credit the Ducks because there are many a team that after a pair of very closely played games with the Kings would have made themselves believe they're just unlucky and that they just have to keep at it the same way. After all, the Ducks were 7 seconds away from a 2-1 win in Game 1, and in Game 2 were a shot away from tying a 2-1 game with a minute left.
So the gap between these two teams is definitely not that wide.
"We had 36, 37 shots [Monday] night, but all those shots were kind of from the outside," said Perry. "Guys weren't in the front getting those opportunities. You look at a lot of goals we scored this year. They're not pretty goals. They're going to the net and banging in rebounds. And that's how we're effective. We create our cycle game and go to the net and use that to our advantage."