1. The Ducks made a smart move to trade for Adam Henrique
The 27-year-old center has been a good addition to their lineup since General Manager Bob Murray acquired him from New Jersey with Joseph Blandisi and a 2018 third-round draft pick for defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick. It helps that Henrique is surrounded by talent — he has been centering for Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry — but he has fit in well with them. “It’s nice. It’s another dimension for us,” goalie Ryan Miller said of trading for Henrique. “We got [Rakell] back for a couple games and he’s starting to look more comfortable. We’ve got a few more guys to go but the guys that are playing are pulling their weight and doing their job. It’s good for our depth as we grind through the year.”
2. Miller was a good addition, too
Miller was signed as a free agent last summer to mentor and push John Gibson, and the results have been positive for all involved. Miller is 3-0-4 in eight games this season with a 1.73 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle calls his goalies 1A and 1B, though Gibson has gotten and will continue to get the majority of the work. But on Wednesday, in a game the Ducks needed to win in order to stop a slump, Miller was the man.
“We understood the stakes and we knew coming home would be difficult. I just wanted to get off to a good start and kind of get through the first period,” he said. “We seemed to build confidence in some situations and I thought we had a nice second period. We kept the shots against much lower than we have been, so that made a big difference as well.”
3. The Senators are punchless
Both the Ducks and the Senators were conference finalists last season, but both are scuffling this season. Widespread injuries (and Patrick Eaves’ illness) go a long way toward explaining the Ducks’ struggles, but the Senators don’t have that excuse to fall back on. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris trophy winner, had ankle surgery last June and hasn’t been as dynamic or as much of an offensive catalyst as he was in previous seasons. The Senators, who will face the Kings on Thursday at Staples Center, failed to score for the second straight game and never exerted any sustained pressure against the Ducks on Wednesday. They’re 1-8-1 in their last 10 games.
“You never know exactly what is causing it and what is going on,” Karlsson said of his team’s prolonged slump. “When things are not going your way, you try and look for answers that are not there. You try and get out of your comfort zone and do different things, but at the end of the day you need to do the things you are good at, and I think that we are starting to get to that.”