What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-1 victory over Arizona:
Welcome to the party
It’s difficult to read much into a victory over the Coyotes -- or what’s left of them after they traded many of their top assets to begin a total overhaul -- but the Ducks looked good in several areas Tuesday.
With left wing Tomas Fleischmann and defenseman Simon Despres making their debuts after being acquired in separate trades, the Ducks looked faster as a team and more skillful. Defensemen James Wisniewski and Korbinian Holzer are nursing minor injuries and didn’t play, but the quick blending of Fleischmann and Despres suggests the Ducks might be able to absorb all of the new players they've brought in without hurting their team chemistry.
“I think we’re just a bunch of nice guys who welcome everyone in,” goaltender Frederik Andersen said after winning in his first start since he suffered a neck injury on Feb. 8. “We have a lot of fun in this group and it makes the new guys feel welcome right away.”
The lineup he played with in his previous game was different than the lineup Tuesday, but he said he sees all the necessary adjustments happening smoothly.
“I think we were pretty quick actually,” he said. “It’s about communicating a lot. We did that really well, I think, to try and help each other out and make it easy for each other. It’s going to be one of the key things from now on. Even going to the playoffs, we need better communication and that’s a good step in that direction.”
How to tend goal
Coach Bruce Boudreau thinks Andersen deserves more attention than the red-headed Dane has been getting.
Andersen on Tuesday matched Montreal Canadiens goalie Bill Durnan for the fewest decisions needed to reach 50 wins, matching Hall of Famer Durnan’s 68 games to reach that mark. The Ducks’ regular-season success has a lot to do with it, it was suggested.
“It’s a lot of him,” Boudreau responded. “I don’t care who you are and what league you’re in, when you win 50 games out of 68 starts usually when you’re going in the net your team has pretty good confidence that you’re going to stop the puck and give them a chance to win, and he has in almost every game. That’s really good on him.
“And he does it with a lot of anonymity. You’re watching NHL Network today and they’re talking about all the guys coming back, playing their first game in a while, and nobody ever thinks of mentioning him. So he’s a good goaltender.”
Picking up the pace
Boudreau really likes the speed the Ducks have added in their recent trades. Really, really likes it.
“I thought all the new guys handled themselves really well,” he said of a group that includes left wing Jiri Sekac, a veteran of four Ducks games since he was acquired from Montreal last week. “It’s almost a different kind of team now, with the speed that we’ve got.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if we change systems up or anything because it’s a different kind of group. I thought they played well.”