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Beauchemin takes advantage of time

Times Staff Writer

It might not happen as much since he has had to adjust his role this season, but there are nights when the Ducks’ Francois Beauchemin reminds everyone what made him such a revelation a year ago.

Wednesday night was one of those nights.

Once considered a throw-in as part of last season’s deal that sent Sergei Fedorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Beauchemin on Wednesday tortured his old team with two goals and a team-high six shots while delivering big hits from the blue line.

About the only thing he didn’t do was bring his team a victory.

“I hadn’t scored in a while,” Beauchemin said. “I’d rather take the two points than the two goals, that’s for sure.”

With Chris Pronger out of the lineup because of a broken left toe, Beauchemin has been getting more ice time, taking most of Pronger’s power-play minutes.

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And taking advantage of that.

Last week, Beauchemin had an assist in a 5-1 victory over Edmonton and Sunday had a career-high three assists to help the Ducks beat Vancouver, 4-2.

“I think Beauchemin has stepped his game up,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “For a while there, we asked him to increase the leg work off the ice. I think you’re looking at some of the results of that.”

Beauchemin said he knew his time on the power play would decrease when the Ducks acquired Pronger last summer. As far as making a major adjustment in his mind, well, there wasn’t one.

“I’ve been focusing more on five-on-five and penalty-killing situations,” said Beauchemin, who has six goals and 22 points in 60 games. “I know I’m not going to have much time on the [power play] with him in the lineup. But it doesn’t really change my game.”

Signed to a two-year contract extension last August, Beauchemin ranks third on the Ducks in ice time behind Pronger and Scott Niedermayer with more than 25 minutes a night.

“They gave me the confidence that I can play every night,” Beauchemin said. “I play a lot of minutes and I like the challenge of playing against the top lines on other teams.”

Carlyle said fitness has played a big role. Beauchemin is playing 15 pounds lighter than the 225 he was at in Columbus.

“He was told he should play at a certain weight to control the big men in the NHL,” Carlyle said. “We thought his ability to play would be best if he were quicker to a loose puck. His movement would allow him to play more effectively in the type of game we want to play.”

TONIGHT

vs. Chicago, 7, Channel 56

Site -- Honda Center.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 42-17-12; Blackhawks 27-34-9.

Record vs. Blackhawks -- 1-0-1.

Update -- Carlyle said the latest X-ray of Pronger’s toe Wednesday night showed progress. “If it stays the same, hopefully we’ll see him back on the ice shortly,” Carlyle said. Chicago dealt the Ducks one of their eight shootout losses in the teams’ last meeting Nov. 17 in Anaheim.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

eric.stephens@latimes.com


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