Don’t look now, but the Anaheim Ducks are rolling. With three wins in their last four games, things are starting to look up again for the Southern California team after going through a rough spell at the beginning of the month.
Trio of Ducks Return from COVID Protocol, Henrique Returns from Injury
The Ducks are mighty close to being back at full strength after a quartet of players returned to the lineup this week. Simon Benoit, Josh Manson, and Anthony Stolarz were activated from COVID protocol. At the same time, Adam Henrique was in the lineup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 3.
Stolarz was in net on Thursday for the Ducks’ second game in a back-to-back set in Canadian territory and stopped 36 of 40 shots. Benoit played just 10 minutes in his return on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his time on ice increased slightly to 12 minutes on Thursday.
Manson’s appearance on Thursday was his first game since Jan. 15, and his minutes were understandably tapered. He registered the second-lowest amount of time on ice (18:13) among Ducks defensemen, with only Benoit having a lower time on ice.
Henrique played 16 minutes in his first game back, and though he didn’t play a large role in the outcome, he can’t be faulted much given that this was his first game in almost two months. His re-insertion to the lineup will have a positive effect in the long term, as the forward was playing well before his injury and is a reliable two-way asset for the Ducks.
Zegras Pulls Off Lacrosse Goal
You knew it had to be coming at some point. Trevor Zegras has been trying and trying and finally pulled off “The Michigan” on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.
He collected a loose puck almost in full stride and seamlessly transitioned into the move, easily beating Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault. Zegras’ goal was the fourth of its kind in NHL history after Andrei Svechnikov (twice) and Filip Forsberg both accomplished the feat.
Zegras has always been willing to try something flashy every time he comes down the ice—he’ll have the opportunity to do so at All-Star Weekend next month—and already demonstrated a bit of flair with his lacrosse-style assist to Sonny Milano in December. Now, Zegras has both a lacrosse goal and lacrosse assist to his name.
Getzlaf Suffers Upper-Body Injury vs. Canadiens
Ryan Getzlaf aided the Ducks in their Thursday night victory—in spirit. The double-minor high sticking penalty that he drew on Laurent Dauphin during the first period that created a blood-spewing cut near the Ducks’ captain’s eye resulted in two key goals on the power play.
However, Getzlaf did not return for the remainder of the game, and his status for Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators is unknown. With a day off today, we may get an update on his status. Losing him for an extended amount of time would be a blow to a team that has nearly gotten back to full strength.
Ducks Should Have Permanent GM by End of Next Month
According to TSN and The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun, the Ducks have wrapped up their first round of general manager interviews. He revealed that Pat Verbeek, current assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, and Ryan Martin, current assistant general manager of the New York Rangers, are among the external candidates who will be interviewed in the second round of interviews, set to be conducted within the next couple of weeks. LeBrun anticipates that the Ducks should have a new permanent general manager in place sometime next month.
Jeff Solomon, the current interim general manager of the Ducks, was involved in the first round of interviews (in-house candidates), as were assistant general managers Martin Madden, Jr. and Dave Nonis. Between these five candidates, there is certainly plenty of front office experience.
The Ducks will prepare for the final stretch of their road trip that takes them into the All-Star break with a matchup on Saturday against the Senators and then travel back across the American border on Monday to take on the Detroit Red Wings.
Derek has been a hockey fan for over 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
Prior to graduating from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication, he spent two and a half years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a sports reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.
In his free time he enjoys playing FIFA, watching video essays on YouTube and curating his Spotify playlists.