The Anaheim Ducks seem to be in a complete free-fall at the moment. After two consecutive losses at home to the Dallas Stars this week, they finally managed to break their long losing streak against the Arizona Coyotes last night.
Vaakanainen Grabs First Point as a Duck
Playing in his second game since being acquired by the Ducks, defenseman Urho Vaakanainen earned his first point with the team with a primary assist on Kevin Shattenkirk’s third-period goal on Thursday night against the Stars. Vaakanainen recently returned from injured reserve, another reason why he’s played in just two games for the Ducks thus far. As he continues to familiarize himself with the team’s play style—and remains healthy—he could force his way into a regular lineup spot come next season.
Fowler Plays 900th Career NHL Game
As for dependable, left-handed defensemen in Anaheim, look no further than Cam Fowler, who played in his 900th career NHL game on Thursday night.
Fowler is currently in his 12th season as an NHL player with all 12 seasons coming as a member of the Ducks. Debuting as a fresh-faced 18-year-old during the 2010-11 season, he roomed with Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer during his rookie season. Now, much like Niedermayer was during the latter end of his Ducks’ career, Fowler is also a veteran leader on the back end. With current captain Ryan Getzlaf surely expected to retire within the next two seasons, Fowler would be a likely candidate to become the next Ducks captain.
Ducks End 11-Game Losing Streak
It was a miserable month of March for the Ducks as they won just two of 15 games, capturing seven points in total. While it was obvious that the team appeared to be shifting in a different direction after selling off all of their major pending free agents at the trade deadline, the drop-off in results still feels alarming.
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They did get off to a good start in April, though, dispatching the low-ranking Coyotes by a score of 5-0. With just 12 games remaining on the 2021-22 schedule for the Ducks, the rest of this season is simply about giving players the chance to prove that they belong on the team going into next season.
Zegras Hits 50-Point Mark, Pulls off Michigan Again
Just when you think you’ve seen it all from Trevor Zegras, he continues to amaze. The recently-turned 21-year-old pulled off the fifth lacrosse-style goal in NHL history on Friday night and became the only player in NHL history to have done it twice.
After his between-the-legs effort didn’t work, Zegras picked the puck out of the skates of a Coyotes defenseman, scooping it onto his stick in the process while skating around the net and proceeding to slam it around teammate Sonny Milano into a nearly empty net.
The spectacular goal brings Zegras the first 50-point campaign of his young career and there’s a good chance this won’t be the last time he hits the big 5-0 in the total points column during his time in the NHL.
Verbeek in Attendance at USNTDP Games
With the 2022 NHL Entry Draft just a few months away, general managers and their accompanying staff are hard at work identifying which players they could potentially be adding to their organization. Not to be left out is Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek, who has been no slouch in working to mold the team in his own image since being appointed in February.
The Ducks’ general manager was in attendance at several of the United States National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP) final home games this past week, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Ducks, of course, have had a slew of USNTDP alumni come through their organization including (but not limited to) Fowler, Zegras, Max Jones, Kyle Palmieri and John Gibson. Recently acquired Drew Helleson is also a USNTDP alumnus as well.
With their first win of the month already secured, the Ducks will hope to find more positive results heading into the final stretch of the regular season.