A prolific night for an enforcer
There are moments, fleeting as they may be, that a fighter by trade treasures.
Winger George Parros, the Ducks’ heavyweight enforcer, picked up a few extra shifts Wednesday night against Nashville and took full advantage.
It wasn’t the usual suspects, such as Ryan Getzlaf or Andy McDonald, who set up the game-winning play in the 3-1 victory. It was Parros. And it didn’t involve beating up anyone. He moved his 6-foot-5, 229-pound frame up ice as fast as he could and centered a pass to Petteri Wirtanen, who finished the play to score in his first NHL game.
“It’s fun to be in the mix,” Parros said Thursday. “You get a chance to get into the game. We realized we were going to get a couple more shifts and we knew something was coming.”
The game totaled only six penalties, providing the perfect scenario for the Ducks’ grinding fourth line to grab more ice time. Parros had played a total of 129 seconds in the previous two games, which included fighting Minnesota’s Derek Boogaard.
“Any time you can get into the game like that, it’s great,” Parros said. “You really lose touch of the game when you’re only in for a minute like we have been the past few games.”
Coach Randy Carlyle has been criticized at times for leaning on just three lines but said he goes into each game hoping to play four.
In Monday night’s win over Detroit, there were 20 power plays, making it nearly impossible to send out a fourth line for an extended shift.
“You can never script it,” Carlyle said. “The way the game developed and the opportunity they got, they didn’t get a tremendous amount of minutes but they got quality minutes for us and they made a quality contribution. As a coaching staff, I don’t think you can ask for more.”
So where did Parros get his burst of speed?
“Rested legs, you know,” he said with a smile.
Drew Miller got his first NHL goal Wednesday, and the young winger’s overall play impressed.
“He provided us with speed and pressure on the puck,” Carlyle said. “He was smart in the offensive end and didn’t give up the puck.”
After failing to make the opening roster, Miller went back to the minors vowing he would do better the next time. “My mind-set going down there was I had some things to work on and just work hard until I got the call to come back up,” he said. “This is an opportunity I don’t want to let go of this time.”
Center Todd Marchant said he felt good after testing his bruised right ankle during Thursday’s practice. Whether he’ll avoid missing a third consecutive game will probably depend on Saturday’s morning skate before their game in Dallas.
“The true test will come from how he reacts from skating today and tomorrow morning’s practice,” Carlyle said.
Todd Bertuzzi, meanwhile, is “showing signs of improvement,” Carlyle said. Bertuzzi, who suffered a concussion Sunday, hasn’t begun working out yet and is expected to miss at least the next two games.