After an embarassing and pitiful start to the pre-season, the Ducks have finally figured it out. At least for two games. Having lost the first three games, the Ducks have now won two in a row, including a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
The victory over the Kings is more notable than the win over the Canucks for several reasons. The Ducks had a mostly veteran line up in Vancouver against a team that primarily consisted of prospects. Against the Kings, it was the opposite. Most of the veterans sat out while the Kings played their A team. Add to it that the Ducks were playing their third game in three nights in as many cities, and the level of difficulty just rose.
Anaheim, however, seemed up to the task, with a hard working, heartfelt effort.
“The effort and the tenacity that we showed was a huge upgrade from where we’ve been the first three games of the year,” coach Randy Carlyle stated after the victory. “We were pretty good in Vancouver, but we couldn’t really judge because we didn’t play against the same quality of lineup we played tonight. You’ve got to give our guys credit. They went out and worked hard. It wasn’t pretty but they did a lot of the little things it takes to win in the NHL.”
Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Gordon and Patrick Maroon all scored for Anaheim. Andrei Loktionov had the sole goal for the Kings, who did not get on the board until the third period.
The game against Los Angeles was another view under the microscope for players trying to make the squad.
Some of those players did not make the cut and were sent to Syracuse today.
Among those sent to Syracuse were defensemen Mat Clark and Sean Zimmerman. Joining them were forwards Nick Bonino, Nicolas Deschamps, Peter Holland, Dan Sexton and Palmieri. Sexton and Zimmerman have to go through waivers. Not like Sexton hasn’t seen those before.
Holland had performed well in camp, so the cut was somewhat of a surprise. Both Bonino and Palmieri spent some time with the Ducks last season and will likely be call ups from the AHL when needed.
The Ducks are left with 16 forwards, 10 defenseman and 4 goaltenders.
Two of those defensemen are on the injured list – Kurtis Foster, who is out 2 – 4 weeks after surgery to remove a wire in his thigh, and Toni Lydman, who still has not been cleared for contact after shoulder surgery in the off season.
Those d-men still on the “fighting for a spot” list include Nate Guenin, Bryan Rodney and Matt Smaby. At least one of them will make the opening roster because Foster and Lydman will not be ready in time.
The final fight for spots at forward include Gordon, who has been impressive thus far, as well as Maroon, Maxime Macenauer, Brian McGrattan, Devante Smith-Pelly.
Smith-Pelly, who is not old enough to be assigned to Syracuse, might end up earning a 10 game look. He has been solid in camp and has lasted longer than others expected to last longer. In the end, he will likely be back with his junior team, but he could be a surprise addition. Last year, in his first training camp, he made a respectable and noticeable debut. Clearly, he is developing nicely as a player.
The Ducks now have a couple more days before their next game at the Honda Center. Further cuts will likely be made before Wednesday, as the Ducks have to prepare for their European road trip, which departs on Saturday.