3 Takeaways From the Ducks’ Series Against the Wild

It was always going to be tough getting points in the arena of a team that had won eight straight home games. The Anaheim Ducks weren’t able to take any points away from their two-game series against the Wild but they did show a little bit more scoring prowess while dealing with some COVID-related absences.

Terrific Troy Terry

It’s been difficult for any of the Ducks to remain consistent in terms of production this season. Max Comtois started the season out hot before cooling down recently. Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique have turned it as of late after slow starts. But their new flavor of the month might be 23-year-old Troy Terry. The winger entered the series against the Wild on a three-game point streak and a goal in the first game of the series gave him four goals in his last seven games.

Terry has always struggled with consistency so it’s nice to see him start to find some form recently. None of the Ducks’ young players have been able to stand out after Comtois’ hot start, but this may be a turning point in their season.

Depleted Defensemen

The Ducks were fortunate to not have been affected by COVID protocols up until recently. Four players––Danton Heinen, Jacob Larsson, Ben Hutton and Anthony Stolarz––were placed on COVID protocol prior to Wednesday’s game. The result was Andy Welinski appearing in just his fourth game of the season and the Ducks reverting to a more standard format with 12 forwards and six defensemen on Wednesday after utilizing 11 forwards and seven defensemen on Monday night.

Florida Panthers Nick Bjugstad Anaheim Ducks Andy Welinski
Former Florida Panthers and current Minnesota Wild center Nick Bjugstad and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Andy Welinski (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

It’s been quite some time since the Ducks skated more right-handed defensemen in a game than left-handed defensemen, but they did so on both Monday and Wednesday. Jame Drysdale, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jani Hakanpaa made up the right-handed corps on Monday with Cam Fowler, Hutton and Larsson on the left side. Welinski being added to the mix made it five right-handed defensemen in the lineup and just one left-hander with Hutton and Larsson absent for the tail-end game.

Comtois Learns a Lesson

The aforementioned Comtois was a healthy scratch on Monday after head coach Dallas Eakins cited a turnover and lack of backchecking which led to a goal on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The winger made sure he won’t be sitting up in the press box again any time soon as he got to work immediately, scoring the Ducks’ second goal. He also had a chance to tie the game late, ringing a shot off the post.

“Max Comtois is going to be a big part of our organization’s future. He has done a lot of things extremely well. But over the last four or five games, his game’s just fallen off.”

-Dallas Eakins

via Eric Stephens and The Athletic’s Real Time Feature

It was a learning experience for Comtois and I’m sure it’s something he won’t soon forget. Before Wednesday, he was minus-6 with zero points in his last six games. With no pure goalscorers on the Ducks’ roster, Comtois may be as good as it gets. Eakins would obviously like to see more of the player from the beginning of the season than the one from the past week or so.

Battle With the Blues

The Ducks continue their extended road trip with a visit to Enterprise Center to face the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been on a shaky run of form lately. They recently snapped a five-game losing streak after starting out the month on a four-game winning streak. They will also face the Wild prior to doing battle with the Ducks and the first game of their series against the Ducks will actually be the second game of a back-to-back as they have a one-off game against the Wild.

Rickard Rakell, Colton Parayko
Anaheim Ducks’ Rickard Rakell and St. Louis Blues’ Colton Parayko (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jordan Kyrou has done some of his best work this season against the Ducks. He has five points in four games, with three of those being goals. The Ducks need to be wary of Kyrou––as well as the rest of the Blues’ top line––as he has hurt them in every single game the two teams have played this season.

It’s contingent on Stolarz coming off COVID protocol, but it’s quite possible that Lukas Dostal may make his NHL debut on Friday. The 20-year-old netminder was the backup on Wednesday and will presumably be in the lineup next game if Stolarz does not return. Ryan Miller has started six straight games and could use a rest.

After a strong start to the season in the AHL for the San Diego Gulls, Dostal’s performance wavered as teams started to get the book on him. The call-ups of Trevor Zegras and Drysdale also weakened the Gulls’ lineup. If Dostal makes his debut, he will be the youngest Ducks goaltender to make his debut since John Gibson did back in 2014.

Sign up for our free ‘Ducks Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.