The Ducks almost made it through the preseason without any scary incidents to their star players.
In their preseason finale Saturday at Honda Center, right wing Jakob Silfverberg was knocked out of the game by a hit to the head from San Jose’s Raffi Torres in the first period. Silfverberg left the ice on his own power but was clearly dazed after Torres caught him high.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said Silfverberg was fine and kept him out for precautionary reasons.
“There was no sense bringing him back,” Boudreau said. “But we’ve seen that before.”
Torres has a history of suspensions and is facing another one after he was ejected with a match penalty for intent to injure.
“Same player every year,” Ryan Kesler said. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Ducks otherwise got a 5-1 win in a dress rehearsal for their Oct.10 season opener at San Jose, where there could be some lingering bad vibes in an already intense rivalry.
While Silfverberg’s incident put an ugly underlining to the game, defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored his first goal as a Duck in his new partnership with Hampus Lindholm.
The two probably will continue their pairing into the regular season after they had a bonding moment in an earlier preseason game against the Kings.
“We were joking around,” Bieksa said. “We went D-to-D probably 30 times. That’s a good sign when you trust your partner and you know where he’s going to be and you’re passing it to him.
“We’ll see moving forward, but right now it feels good.”
Bieksa seems a natural fit beside Lindholm because he fills the role played last season by Francois Beauchemin, who was lost to free agency. Bieksa, 34, plays the right side and is the same type of hard-nosed veteran as Beauchemin.
Their pairing also allows Boudreau to retain the other defensive pairs of Cam Fowler with Simon Despres and Clayton Stoner with Sami Vatanen that were consistent at the end of last season.
“It made sense to do this,” Boudreau said.
Bieksa won’t have a problem communicating with Lindholm because he played with several other Swedish players on the Canucks before he came to the Ducks in the off-season, and he can speak some of the language.
“They’re surprised when I throw some phrases at them,” Bieksa said. “They’re surprised that I know it.”
Bieksa doesn’t know the exact wording for “D-to-D,” the phrase that defensemen use to indicate a pass to each other, but he knows “what to say when I want the puck.”
Lindholm benefited from Beauchemin as his mentor. Bieksa, with 597 games of NHL experience, might be able to do the same, although they tend to see each other more as equals.
“He’s easy to play with,” Lindholm said. “He talks a lot. He encourages me. I try to encourage him. I think that’s going to make it work really good in the long run.”