Category Archives: Ducks Jerseys 2021

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Rangers coach David Quinn isn’t happy with the way referees have treated Brendan Lemieux lately.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s second period, Lemieux was handed a 10-minute misconduct for a scuffle with Ducks forward Carter Rowney. It wasn’t the first tussle Lemieux experienced in the Rangers’ 5-1 win at the Garden, and it certainly wasn’t the first this season.

But Quinn made a point to say he didn’t think referees have been calling physical plays involving Lemieux fairly.

“I would like for him to avoid putting himself in that position,” Quinn said when he was asked about the 10-minute misconduct. “He’s a very important player for us, he plays a hard game, he plays with an edge and we miss him when he’s not out there. I just wish he would’ve avoided that situation.

“With that being said, I know officiating is difficult, but I just wish he’d get treated a little bit differently than he has lately. I just want all of our players to be treated equal. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way with him.”

It was a physical game, with both teams combining for 17 penalties. Lemieux even turned down a fight in the second period, when Erik Gudbranson dropped his gloves only to have the gritty winger skate away from him. Both teams were still penalized.

The hard-nosed Lemieux, who finished with an assist and three shots on goal, has collected a team-high 95 penalty minutes through 34 games this season.

Quinn said he hadn’t made a decision on who will start in net against the Flyers, but admitted he was tempted to give Lundqvist the nod given how he performed Sunday and his history with back-to-back starts.

The Rangers have gone 16 straight power plays without a goal.

An 0-for-5 performance on the man-advantage Sunday kept that streak alive, dropping the Rangers’ power-play percentage to 18.5 percent. But Chris Kreider didn’t seem too concerned with the drought.

“Power play comes in flows, we did the right things today,” Kreider said. “I thought we did a better job of getting pucks to the net. [We need to] continue to do that, results might not be there but it doesn’t mean that we’ll change what we’re doing.”

The Rangers recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from AHL Hartford following the win.

Di Giuseppe skated in a combined 24 games last season with the Hurricanes and Predators. The Rangers signed Di Giuseppe, who was drafted No. 38 overall by the Hurricanes in 2012, as a free agent this offseason.

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A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us your burning questions about the Anaheim Ducks. You delivered, sending several quality questions our way, and we really enjoyed taking the time to answer all of them. Our answers are honest, and we hope they were exactly what you were looking for.

Khalid Hart: As goofy as this may sound they really need to shoot more. Time after time we see them try to deke their way into the net only to get stripped of the puck or lose it altogether

Jonathan Morris: I feel like the Ducks need an elite scorer. Honestly, their play isn’t terrible but they have 0 finishers. Rakell is probably the closest and it’s not even close to some teams elite scorers around the league.

Ben Thomasian: Two-part answer: Firstly, the Ducks should look to upgrade their roster. It may seem harsh and some of the players may be fan favorites, but this isn’t a team built to outscore opponents. For years we spoke and complained about the bad players (who were hitting 20 goals) on Getzlaf’s LW, now we watch him with Devin Shore and Troy Terry. No disrespect towards those players, but they are not top-line scoring threats.

Finding players to go on this top line will filter down the depth chart. Secondly, they should implement a number of different playing styles that can be implemented for different situations. At present, the Ducks play one way at all times and it’s become an issue. As an example consider the Wild game recently.

In the first period they dominated playing their way, yet from the second period onwards, the wild slowed the game down and the ducks couldn’t respond. That wild team was lacking in strength and size up the middle after the Staal injury, it would have taken nothing for the Ducks to switch to a heavy forecheck and dumping the puck in deep – not a strategy they maybe should use often, but in that game would have worked well. Long story short, Eakins needs to diversify his playbook.

Ciara Durant: It’s simple… they need scoring, and quite frankly, they may not get it this season. The team as a whole has an issue finishing and there isn’t a player who could be defined as a natural goal scorer. Rickard Rakell might be the closest, but even still, he’s on pace to barely eclipse 20 goals.

I’d say the best and only thing Dallas Eakins can do in situations like this is go with what works. So far, we’ve seen success with the Rickard Rakell-Jakob Silfverberg line. You can really stick any center between them, and they lead the team most games. The Nick Ritchie–Adam Henrique–Ondrej Kase line also works. They may not be racking up the points, but they have chemistry, and as a coach, you have to work with what you’ve got.

TJ Watson: To improve offense, I would give more time to someone like Shore or Steel, and integrate Comtois into the fray. This team is young so there will be some dry spells, but if they can get better on defense, the offense will come.

Khalid Hart: No question about Zegras is the one everyone wants to see. This will be our first in-depth look at him on a national scale so everyone will be watching.

Jonathan Morris: Zegras, I want to see him compete against the best at his age and see how he handles it.

Ben Thomasian: Dostal is having a wonderful year, and he’s still incredibly young to be having the season he is as a netminder. It may be less about excitement and more about curiosity, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes against his elite peer group.

Ciara Durant: Hands down, Lukas Dostal. I wholeheartedly believe that he is the heir to the John Gibson throne, and it works out perfectly because Dostal should reach peak development by the time Gibson begins his decline. He played beautifully for “Team Czech Republic” last season, and after having an incredible season so far this year, I’m excited to see him play in the international spotlight. He is by far my favorite prospect currently in the Anaheim Ducks system (nothing against Trevor Zegras) and I think he’s going to be a big factor for his team in the WJC this year.

Khalid Hart: If you’re not saying Cam Fowler you’re going to disappointed. In terms of leadership, it makes sense, in terms of longevity it makes sense. After all, Cam’s been with the team for the longest right after Getzlaf. I think it will come down to a vote between the coaches and the leadership group in the locker room.

Jonathan Morris: I think its Fowler, he has been there, went through the ups and downs and is having a year of growth.

Ben Thomasian: Another two-part answer: First the reality check: It’s Cam Fowler. Always has been, always will be. There is no real debate here. Second, the dream: Brad Lambert. The Ducks are incredibly awful and in with a real chance of drafting #1 overall in the 2022 draft. They take future Finnish superstar Lambert and we all profit. Get on the bandwagon now people!

Ciara Durant: Simple, Cam Fowler is Ryan Getzlaf‘s heir apparent. I was rather shocked when he wasn’t one of the Ducks alternate captains this season, but I have quite enjoyed watching Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Manson in that role. But, regardless, the Anaheim Ducks have been grooming Fowler for this position for years. I wrote about this a few seasons ago, and it still rings true today.

TJ Watson: I think Rakell is the future captain, he has the tenacity, youth and also a guy who can put a team on his back in different ways. I think for this team, it needs to be someone young enough who can help guide the team into the future.

Jonathan Morris: I would gauge interest on both, I would prefer to keep Rakell because I think he can develop further into a scorer, Henrique is a very solid 3C but the results plus the paycheck arent what we need.

Ben Thomasian: Yes. You want me to clarify? The Ducks, we assume, are rebuilding. Henrique is getting on for 30 and we know there is a typical decline in performance moving forward from that age bracket. He’s also signed for a fair dollar value going forward, yet is performing as well as any Duck this season (although his scoring has dropped away of late – 1 point/goal in the past 11 games.)

Trading him now while he still has perceived value would likely get a better return which would help accrue draft assets to accelerate a rebuild. It also provides the Anaheim Ducks cap space which they may be able to weaponize to accrue more draft collateral. It may be hard to deal with, but the hard question should be “is Henrique part of the next Anaheim Ducks cup contending team?” If the answer is yes, they should keep him, if not….

Ciara Durant: To be quite honest, I would not be opposed to trading either of them. The Ducks may not have outrightly said they are rebuilding, but things seem to be going that direction. Take New York for example. The Rangers just went through a rebuild. Was it easy? No. They had to trade players that had been with the team for years. We saw “the King” Henrik Lundqvist cry when Mats Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars.

The Ducks are in desperate need of change, and both Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique could potentially get the Ducks a good return. You can’t be stingy in situations like this. While it may hurt a little bit, especially since they are two fan favorites, but again, you have to be open to all options in rebuilds/retools.

TJ Watson: I won’t consider trading Rakell, because of my answer above. I would consider resigning him for the right price. I’m a maybe on Henrique, he hasn’t been a bust trade, unless you’re looking to get someone like, say TJ from TBL, or someone of better talent.

Khalid Hart: I don’t see why not. He’s working on earning it as we speak but this goes back to the previous question letting him go via trade or letting him walk is a really difficult thing to do unless the return is amazing or we get someone who is just as good if not better. If we do none of that we come out looking like the biggest losers in the end.

Jonathan Morris: Yes, as long as they push to be competitive, if they go full rebuild then they need to trade any asset with value for picks/prospects. We lack elite players and elite prospects. We have potential in both areas but nothing clear cut.

Ben Thomasian: Probably not. I tend to have a dislike of signing guys getting close to their 30’s (he’ll be 28) to long term contracts (which he’ll want). He’s been a good player for us, but it may be time, at that point, to let him walk.

Khalid Hart: If you asked me this during the 2016-17 season when we were still competitive I would’ve said yes please in a heartbeat. Right now it just doesn’t make sense. And knowing Radulov he’s in a win-now mode so he wouldn’t settle for a retooling season or seasons with the Ducks.

Jonathan Morris: No, the Russian Machine is broken. The Anaheim Ducks stay away from Russian players typically and Radulov while Firey and competitive night in and night out is trending down in a league that is getting younger and faster each and every year. Players are going to start being to old for this league at 30, we are seeing it shift there now. So I would stay away from trading for players above that.

Ben Thomasian: Yes and No. He’s old. He’s great, but he’s not going to instantly fix this team by himself. If he’s one of a couple of players the Ducks are bringing in to help them eek out another playoff appearance, then it would be a good move. If he’s the only player coming in, then it feels like it would be just adding a player to reach bubble playoff status and if they’re lucky a one and done postseason appearance. My personal preference in that situation would be to rebuild for the future, and an old dog like that isn’t going to be around when the Ducks are aiming to be cup contenders again.

Ciara Durant: No, and simply because the Ducks aren’t currently in a spot to compete for the cup. Adding Radulov to the mix may increase their chances, but I’d much rather have a high draft pick so the Ducks can build a better foundation for their future when they are Cup contenders once again. As a player, I respect Radulov, but at the age of 33, he’s aiming for the Cup now. Dallas is in a good spot to make a playoff run like they did last season. Trading him to a team that has no chance at the Cup just seems unfair to me.

Ciara Durant: It depends on term and price. While Rakell is probably one of the better forwards on this team, we haven’t seen him have another year similar to his 2017-18 season. He’s going to be older when his current contract expires, and he’s going to want to cash out with his big contract. The Ducks really need to consider all their options and hope Rakell is willing to sign a team-friendly deal. I am not opposed to resigning him, but I’m skeptical.

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils’ decision to trade 2018 MVP Taylor Hall to Arizona has put pressure on other players to step up and lead the team.

In their first game since Monday’s trade, Hall’s former linemates Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri answered the call.

Hischier and Palmeiri scored second-period goals and the Devils beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Wednesday night, giving them consecutive wins for only the fourth time this disappointing season.

“I think it’s for the young guys coming up, it’s those close games and finding ways to win or finding ways to close them out,” Palmieri said. “Tonight, finding a way to come from behind and find a lead going into the third and come out there and keep playing on our toes. They had a couple looks but we held the fort.”

Sami Vatanen also scored and Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves as the Devils gave interim coach Alain Nasreddine his second straight win.

Adam Henrique scored against his former team for the Ducks, who squandered an early 1-0 lead in losing to New Jersey for the first time in four games. Ryan Miller had 17 saves as Anaheim lost its second straight on a four-game East Coast trip.

“Obviously you get a good start and get a lead and go from there,” Henrique saud. “We have to find a way to get that next one. That’s the key right now. We are having a hard time to get two and three and put out foot on the throat of the other team. That’s an area that has to improve.”

Anaheim defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a hand in the Devils’ goals. He had a giveaway on Hischier’s goal early in the second period and was in the penalty box for interference when Palmieri gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead at 11:29 of the second.

The journeyman defenseman lost a battle with No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes in the corner early in the third period, leading to Vatenen’s goal and a 3-1 lead.

Henrique gave Anaheim the lead, capping a 2-on-none with Ondrej Kase 3:33 after the opening faceoff.

The tide changed early in the second period when Del Zotto misplayed a puck sent around the boards. It deflected toward the net, where Jesper Bratt got the puck and found Hischier for a shot low in the right circle at 1:28.

Bratt is Hall’s replacement at left wing on the line center by Hischier. Palmieri is on the right side.

“I feel comfortable playing with (Bratt),” Hischier said. “I came in with him in this league and have played a lot of games already with him. He’s a great playmaker who can score, so it’s a lot of fun to play with him.”

Palmieri got his 13th of the season in the closing seconds of the penalty against Del Zotto. He made a toe-drag move on defenseman Cam Fowler and beat the screened goaltender from the right circle.

Vatanen extended the margin to two goals with a tally against his former team, and Blackwood made the lead standing up, making 11 saves in the final 20 minutes in giving New Jersey its first home win since Nov. 23 against Detroit.

“We were OK in the first,”Miller said. “We were getting the puck deep and I felt that’s how we should play the game. In the second period we didn’t do any of that and fed into what they wanted to be doing. We didn’t have a whole lot of energy until that last little push.”

Blackwood negated the effort.

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ANAHEIM — Josh Manson hammered the puck into the right-hand corner from his station just inside the blue line on Monday morning at Honda Center. He skated purposefully from one end of the ice to the other. He followed along with his Ducks teammates as they went through a number of drills.

When it came time for special teams work that called for more physical contact with his teammates, Manson took a seat on the bench. Manson, a veteran defenseman, wasn’t ready for that level of competition, although his first full-speed, full-contact practice could come later this week.

It’s been nearly six weeks since Manson sprained his knee during the Ducks’ loss to the Stars on Oct. 24 at Dallas. Barring a setback, he’s likely to return to their lineup sooner than later. Certainly, he’s right in the window of their original layoff estimate of between five and 10 weeks.

Manson’s return to the lineup can’t come soon enough, as far as the Ducks are concerned. They were mired in seventh place in the Pacific Division with an 11-12-4 record going into Monday night’s game against the eighth-place Kings (11-14-2).

“We’re getting there because I saw him skating around out there with us,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of anticipating Manson’s return to full-time duty. “When you see those steps that means all that stuff, medically, physically, fitness-wise are progressing well.

“So, him popping out there is a good step. Our fingers are crossed, but there are no guarantees.”

The Ducks have practices scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for Friday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won a Nov. 18 game marred by a spitting incident that resulted in a three-game NHL-imposed suspension to Garnet Hathaway of Washington.

Manson’s return would give the Ducks a physical element that’s been lacking since he was injured while attempting to throw a check against the Stars’ Jason Dickinson. Manson’s injury was met with relief by the Ducks, who feared he had torn a ligament. It turned out to be just a sprain.

“All you have to do is look at our goals-against with him in the lineup and without,” Eakins said, referring to the Ducks’ 2.18 goals-against average before Manson was sidelined and their 3.63 goals-against average while he’s been out. “I think that tells a story right away.”

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — During an awfully sluggish start by Minnesota, the Anaheim Ducks took full advantage.

They capitalized on a finish by the Wild that left plenty to be desired, too.

Rickard Rickell and Max Comtois scored in the shootout, and the Ducks fended off the Wild 3-2 on Tuesday night for their first win in their last six road games.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games lately and coming out on top of this one, it’s a huge deal for us,” Rakell said. “Just the environment, the feeling in the room.”

Rakell and Cam Fowler scored for the Ducks in a dominant first period during which they had a 14-1 advantage in shots on goal and Minnesota lost center Eric Staal to an injury. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team started 3-7, declared that their worst 20 minutes of the season.

“It’s pretty embarrassing, and I told the guys that,” Boudreau said, adding: “Every time there was a competition for a puck, they came up with it.”

Ryan Hartman put the Wild on the board in the second. Ryan Donato tied the game early in third, when Zach Parise hustled behind the net to knock Ducks defenseman Josh Manson off the puck and set up his teammate in front of goalie John Gibson.

Donato had a breakaway early in overtime that Ryan Getzlaf thwarted with a tripping penalty, but the Wild failed to convert on the power play for the fifth time in the game and fell to 0 for 12 in their last four. The Ducks were even down a broken stick during the 4-on-3, but the Wild only put one shot on net.

“It doesn’t happen too often, but I think it’s something maybe we need to look at a little more to find our options a little bit,” Parise said.

Boudreau wouldn’t buy that.

“Yeah, we need to practice it more, but there are things that happen 10 times a night that you have to be better at,” he said. “It’s not like, quite frankly, there was a first-year player on the ice.”

Gibson, who is 6-3-1 in 11 career starts against Minnesota, denied Parise in the shootout. Kevin Fiala went wide right with his attempt.

“We showed a lot of character in the third. I think we could have pulled out the win in overtime, but we stuck with it,” Comtois said.

The Wild started a three-game homestand that is their longest to date this season, after playing 20 of their first 30 games on the road, the most in the NHL in that span in 14 years. They are 7-1-3 at Xcel Energy Center, giving them confidence in a continuation of their recent surge once the schedule begins to balance out. Until losing 6-2 at Carolina on Saturday, the Wild went 8-0-3 in their previous 11 games for the second-longest point streak in franchise history.

The Ducks, in their first season under coach Dallas Eakins, were 3-8-4 in their previous 15 games. Their latest setback was a knee injury Friday to left wing Nick Ritchie that could keep him out for two months or more, though Manson returned from a 19-game absence due to a knee injury.

After losing consecutive 3-2 games to league-leading Washington on Friday and at Winnipeg on Sunday, the Ducks seized the lead barely three minutes in. Jakob Silfverberg snagged a rebound from Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen and slipped it across the crease to Rackell for his ninth goal of the season. Then about seven minutes later on a power play, Fowler zipped a one-timer through traffic that Kahkonen, screened by Ducks center Adam Henrique, did not appear to see. The Wild have given up a power-play goal in nine of their last 10 games.

The evening began with a tribute to Wild captain Mikko Koivu for playing in his 1,000th career game on Dec. 1, pushing the faceoff back by about 10 minutes.

“These things can work for you and against you, when you have those ceremonies before the game,” Eakins said, adding: “Our guys were certainly ready to go.”

Staal, who’s tied for the team lead with 21 points, collided headfirst with linesman David Brisebois after chasing the puck along the boards and was down on the ice for a few minutes before slowly leaving with assistance for examination. The Wild were already missing three key players in Koivu, goalie Devan Dubnyk, and defenseman Jared Spurgeon.

NOTES: The Wild brought back former teammates Niklas Backstrom, Kyle Brodziak, Marian Gaborik and Nick Schultz for the ceremony as a surprise to the 36-year-old captain and center. Koivu’s parents, wife and three children were also on the ice as Gaborik, who leads Koivu by 16 goals on the franchise list, presented him the traditional silver stick. … Fowler tied Rakell and Marty McInnis for ninth place on the franchise list with 25 career power-play goals. … Rakell has six goals and six assists in his last 15 games. … Donato has four goals and one assist in his last eight games. … Wild rookie defenseman Brennan Menell made his NHL debut, with one blocked shot in 10:23 of ice time.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Return home to face Los Angeles on Thursday. Anaheim hosted its Southern California rival just 10 days ago, winning 4-2. The Kings are the only team behind the Ducks in the Western Conference standings.

Wild: Host Edmonton on Thursday. They beat the Oilers 3-0 at home on Oct. 22.

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With his third-period goal on Friday, his 16th of the season, Alex Ovechkin tied Teemu Selanne on the all-time power play goals list for 3rd place, with 255.

The only players in front of him now are Brett Hull, with 265, and Dave Andreychuk, with 274.

To me, this has always been an odd NHL record, considering that Andreychuk – who is now no. 15 on the all-time goals list – is the all-time power play goal scorer. Andreychuk had 640 career goals, while Wayne Gretzky, the all-time power play points leader with an unbeatable 890, is 17th place on the power play goals list.

Ovi will be the all-time power play goal leader in a couple of seasons, but we don’t want that to be his legacy, as it is with Andreychuk in terms of leading the NHL in something. Ovi’s goal ought to be 895, and he’s well on his way.

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Stu Grimson’s new autobiography is aptly called The Grim Reaper, but the book’s subtitle — The life and career of a reluctant warrior — rounds out the picture of the infamous NHL enforcer.

Grimson was a handful, a heavyweight who knew exactly how to flatten a foe in as few punches as necessary. But he’s now conflicted about that role — and much more proud of his leadership in the locker room and on the bench.

The fact that Grimson liked using his brain more than his knuckles became obvious once he received his law degree and started negotiating in NHL labour disputes.

Anastasia Bucsis, host of CBC Sports’ Player’s Own Voice podcast, gets the NHL veteran talking about the main preoccupations of a heavyweight during the height of the enforcer years.

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The end of the Anaheim Ducks 2017-18 season was bittersweet for a variety of reason. However, saying goodbye to a fan favorite was likely the most bittersweet moment of them all. Although the timing was perfect for veteran defenseman, Francois Beauchemin to retire, watching him raise his stick one last time in salute to the fans invoked many emotions. We had been used to seeing him come and go during his three sperate stints with the organization, but retirement seemed so final.

However, with a player who is as passionate about the game of hockey as Beauch, it was no surprise when Bob Murray offered him the opportunity to stay on with the organization in a small role that he could fulfill from his new home in Quebec.

Throughout the 2018-19 season, he essentially acted as Murray’s eyes and ears in the QMJHL. Not only did he keep an eye on the development of our prospects but he acted as a mentor and was able to impart years of wisdom to the future hopeful Anaheim Ducks.

When Prospect Development Camp began, and photos of Francois Beauchemin at Great Park Ice surfaced, the news that he has an active role as an instructor during the camp was a welcomed announcement. In fact, according to Elliot Teaford of the Orange County Register, Beauchemin will be joining the Anaheim Ducks hockey operations department:

“Francois Beauchemin, who retired after the 2017-18 season following a career that included three stints with the Ducks, has been among the instructors during the camp. He’s expected to join the hockey operations department in a role that’s still being defined… It’s likely he will be hired to assits Todd Marchant, the Ducks’ director of player development.” -Elliot Teaford, Orange County Register

Todd Marchant has done a terrific job aiding in the development of the Anaheim Ducks prospects over the past several years. He makes sure that their transition into this new journey is smooth and has as little roadblocks as possible. It is clear that he is genuinely invested in the future of the Anaheim Ducks and adding Francois Beauchemin to his team is an incredibly sound decision.
The Blueline Needs Some Help

From the way things ended last season, it is clear that there need to be a few changes when it comes to the development of the Anaheim Ducks blueline. Of course, a lot of that can be chalked up to bad coaching, but even still, when Randy Carlyle was relieved of his duties there were still blatant issues with the defensive core.

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A virus swept through the Ducks’ dressing room, leaving team captain Ryan Getzlaf in such rough shape that coach Dallas Eakins kicked him off the ice during Friday’s practice at Prudential Center. Getzlaf’s availability for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders was uncertain.

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It could create a difficult challenge for the Ducks when they face one of the NHL’s top teams.

Or it could create an opportunity for one of their young players.

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The Ducks didn’t recall Isac Lundestrom from their AHL team in San Diego to sit in the press box munching popcorn while his teammates actually play the games. They summoned Lundestrom, a 20-year-old rookie center, to the NHL to learn, to grow, to contribute and to play a vital role.

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“Lundestrom has been really solid down there,” Eakins said of his play in San Diego, where he’s had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 21 games. “He’s played well. I thought he was one of our better forwards, if not our two or three best forwards the other night.”

Eakins referred to the Ducks’ 3-1 loss Wednesday to the New Jersey Devils. Lundestrom played 18:37 after playing Tuesday for the Gulls in a shootout loss to Grand Rapids in San Diego, then awaking early to fly cross country to join the Ducks only a few hours before they faced the Devils.

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Lundestrom skated with fellow Swedes Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg to start Wednesday’s game and was credited with two shots, one that was on target and one that was blocked. Lundestrom won five of nine faceoffs (56 percent).

“His first look this time around has been a very favorable one,” Eakins said. “Again, (Friday) in practice, really, really good. He’s detailed. He’s competitive. He was executing. So, he’s earning everything he’s getting right now. This isn’t just a given.”

No question, Lundestrom and Max Jones, a 21-year-old left wing, might be with Gulls rather than with the Ducks if not for injuries to right wing Troy Terry and center Derek Grant earlier this week. The Ducks needed help and Lundestrom and Jones were recalled from San Diego.

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Terry, 22, is another young player who had earned a significant role with the Ducks. He’s expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks after breaking his fibula right below his right kneecap following a knee-to-knee hit from Nicolas Aube-Kubel of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Lundestrom played 15 games with the Ducks last season, after they selected him on the first round of the 2018 draft (23rd overall). He also played 12 games with the Gulls before returning to play with Lulea in his native Sweden, then returning to play seven games in the AHL playoffs.

Eakins certainly was impressed during his limited time with Lundestrom in San Diego. Eakins coached the Gulls for four seasons before the Ducks hired him to be their coach, after Randy Carlyle was fired last February and general manager Bob Murray assumed the coaching duties himself.

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“As much as we would have liked to have had him in San Diego or with the Ducks last year, he did go play in a man’s league,” Eakins said of Lundestrom’s decision to play in Sweden last season. “That Swedish league isn’t some kids’ league. It’s a very, very good league.

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What does Eakins like most about Lundestrom?
“He’s got really good habits,” Eakins said. “Like, real good pro habits. Sometimes it takes guys a while to develop that when they’re that age. He already has them. To me, the good pros are the ones who come in every day and they do everything that’s been required and then do more.

“Take practice, it’s not just, ‘OK, I’m out here practicing,’” Eakins said. “There’s a compete level. There’s an execution level that not only are we looking for, but the player has his own standards, as well. We can ask, we can push, we can pull as a staff, but it always comes down to what are your standards? What are your self-imposed standards?

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“His standards are high.”

The New Jersey Devils are one of the worst teams in the league, both from a standings perspective and a shot metrics perspective. What many believed was the team that won the offseason last summer have now fired their coach they extended last year and have traded their best player, Taylor Hall, to the Arizona Coyotes. It makes sense that, given the good overall play of the Anaheim Ducks in recent weeks, that the Ducks should win this game.

I’m here to tell you that dreams are meaningless and wins in hockey are apparently a myth.

The Ducks dropped the second game of their back-to-back last night by a score of 3-1. While they weren’t as dominant as they were in Philadelphia the night before, they certainly played a better game than the Devils did. Unfortunately, the continuing theme of not being able to finish their chances and isolated defensive and goaltending lapses meant that Anaheim wasn’t able to turn the run of play into a win.

Before the game, fans received news that Troy Terry would be out with a broken bone below the kneecap for 10 weeks, Derek Grant (somehow the Ducks’ 5th leading scorer) would miss 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, and Jacob Larsson would be day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury. While the loss of these players certainly hurts, they’re not exactly the difference between the lottery and playoffs.

The only Ducks goal of the game came on a perfectly executed 2 on 0 rush from a completely blown breakout by the Devils. Ondrej Kase got in on goaltender McKenzie Blackwood and fed a perfect cross ice pass to Adam Henrique who one-timed it into the open net, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead in the first period.

That would be it for the offense, however, as the second period saw Michael Del Zotto cause a turnover for Jesper Bratt who delivered it to former first overall pick Nico Hischier streaking towards the net for the goal and the 1-1 tie game.

The Devils took the lead later in the period when former Duck Kyle Palmieri pulled it in and used Fowler as a screen while taking advantage of Miller being off his angle. While Miller didn’t see the puck, that’s a goal he probably wasn’t thrilled about, as a shot from the circles at that distance should be covered by proper positioning.

The Devils put the nail in the coffin in the third period on a goal from none other than Sami Vatanen in a night where all but one of the goal scorers for both sides formerly played for their opponent. Vatanen’s point shot deflected off of Korbinian Holzer and past Miller, essentially icing the game for the Ducks.

Up next: The Ducks continue their road trip against the New York Islanders at 10 AM PST on Saturday.