On most nights, he's chasing the other team's marquee players and trying not to be on the wrong side of the highlight reels.
It's a job without glamour for Jakob Silfverberg and linemates Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano that has sometimes gone underappreciated. Fitting, then, that Silfverberg's first career hat trick capped a 7-1 win Monday night against the New Jersey Devils at the Honda Center.
Kesler and Cogliano also scored as the line's turn in the offensive spotlight ended the Ducks' three-game winless streak. Corey Perry scored his 29th goal and rookie Nick Ritchie his first NHL goal as the Ducks more than doubled their scoring output from the previous three games combined.
“I've always kind of said it: I think we're a great checking line, but we have the skill to score goals too,” Silfverberg said. “It's great for the confidence. It's good for all three of us. [We got] a couple of bounces. It was a fun night.”
Silfverberg's third goal wasn't on a bounce, nor was it an empty-net goal. He wound up from the right circle and scored with Kesler screening Devils goalie Yann Danis. Keith Kinkaid, the NHL's third star of the week, was removed for Danis after the Ducks' sixth goal.
Silfverberg's first two goals capped a four-goal second period by the line. He jammed in a pass from Kesler in the goalmouth for a 4-1 lead, and was also unchecked in the slot for his first goal when he converted a big rebound into an open net to complete a three-goal onslaught in six minutes by the line.
“They make it happen, and they make it tough on any line that they play against,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “To see them get some goals and finally get rewarded, rather than just being checking, checking, checking, is a really good sign.”
Ritchie added to the night of posterity when he turned and scored from the right side in the third period. He smiled big with his parents fortuitously in attendance after they flew in from the Toronto area.
“Obviously nice to get the first one in front of them,” Ritchie said. “You couldn't have scripted that one any better.”
Veteran Shawn Horcoff retrieved the puck out of the net for Ritchie. Horcoff played for the first time since he served a 20-game suspension for violation of the NHL's performance-enhancing drug policy. His return coincided with a lower-body injury to Nate Thompson, who is day-to-day, the Ducks announced.
A day off Sunday allowed the Devils' Kyle Palmieri to have dinner with former Ducks teammates Cogliano and Cam Fowler. It was a reminder of what he remembered most about Southern California.
“The weather and the beach,” Palmieri said. “This rink has a lot of good memories in it.”
Palmieri said it was a special feeling returning to Anaheim, where he spent the first five years of his NHL career. He was in a backlog of forwards on the depth chart, though, and financial concerns also forced the Ducks to trade him to New Jersey for two draft picks last summer.
Given more ice time and a consistent second-line role, Palmieri has thrived in New Jersey with 25 goals.
“I always had the confidence that I could achieve something like that,” he said. “[With] the depth our teams had while I was here, it was tough to be in those situations at all times. You get into the routine of moving up and down the lineup. In that respect, it helped me grow as a hockey player.”