The Ducks aren’t nervous in one-goal games
They’re 19-0-6 in games decided by one goal this season; of their last 18 wins, 16 have come by a one-goal margin. On Friday, they took some lazy penalties in the second period that cost them a goal during a five-on-three advantage for the Blues, but they were more disciplined in the third period, when it counted.
“I thought our penalty kill was really good,” winger Matt Beleskey said. “They got one on the five-on-three, I think. We had a lot of penalties, especially in that second period, and Freddie [Andersen] stood on his head for us and I think that was huge for us to get through those.”
A confident Beleskey is a productive Beleskey
The left wing has scored a career-best 16 goals this season, and he credited Ryan Kesler with helping boost his self-assurance and his scoring opportunities.
“Playing on second line every night with Kesler has been big,” Beleskey said. “You get a lot of good chances to score and I just try to keep putting them in the net.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau said it was purely a matter of Beleskey believing in himself.
“He’s always had a tremendous shot and a tremendous release. He’s never had confidence in it, I think,” Boudreau said. “Scoring at the beginning of the year has given him confidence in his shot and he thinks now he can score when he shoots, which is really, really important. Kes is a big part of it. You have to have that centerman that can feed you if you’re going to score. Just confidence and his natural maturation have made him get better as a player.”
When healthy, the Ducks have impressive scoring potential
Kyle Palmieri was activated from injured reserve a few hours before Friday’s game, marking the first time this season the Ducks don’t have a forward on injured reserve. He stepped back into the lineup as if he had never been gone, reunited with Beleskey and Kesler.
Staying healthy is another matter, and there’s more than half a season to go. But acquiring Kesler clearly has made the Ducks a more formidable team and has taken a large burden off Ryan Getzlaf, who has responded with an outstanding season.