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Ducks' Silfverberg scores twice in exhibition finale

Ducks' Silfverberg scores twice in exhibition finale
Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg flips a shot on goal while under pressure from Sharks defenseman Justin Braun during the second period Sunday. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

There was a definite Swedish undertone to the Ducks' exhibition finale.

Throughout training camp the elephant in their locker room has been the absence of defenseman Hampus Lindholm and center Rickard Rakell. Both remain in contract disputes and are key players who accounted for 30 goals last season. 

Coincidentally on Sunday, countryman Jakob Silfverberg looked ready to help make up for that scoring while Swedish rookies Jacob Larsson and Nick Sorensen could replace Lindholm and Rakell, at least to start the season.

Silfverberg’s two goals were the silver lining in a fight-filled 3-2 overtime win against San Jose at Honda Center that was more stage flop than dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener Thursday at Dallas.

Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle thinks Silfverberg can better his 20 goals from last season, and he has put him on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie to help stimulate offense.

"That's what we struggled with in the beginning of last year," Silfverberg said. "We didn't really get any secondary scoring, and that's [key] for any team, not just us."

Silfverberg hasn't talked to Lindholm or Rakell. Both are believed to be in Sweden, and it's quite certain that Anaheim won't have them to start.

"We miss them," Silfverberg said. "They're two great players. Hopefully they'll be here sooner rather than later."

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Larsson and Sorensen have made their case as replacements.

One of the surprises of camp is that Larsson outlasted top Ducks defenseman prospect Shea Theodore. Larsson is baby-faced at 19, but Carlyle cited his puck-moving ability as why he has separated himself to this point. If he makes the team?

“It means a lot,” Larsson said. “I’ve wanted to play in the NHL all my life, and I’m pretty close.”

Sorensen, born in Denmark but raised in Sweden, has hockey intelligence and plays on a line with Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano, two-thirds of the Ducks’ shutdown line from last season. 

"I mean, they're players I've been playing on video games last year," Sorensen said. "It's fun. They help me a lot. They talk to me all the time. It gives me an energy boost coming in the morning, knowing they've got my back."

Sorensen, 21, was slowed by knee and wrist injuries earlier in his career and he acknowledged that, "I don't think there was a lot of people expecting me to make the team … but I always believed in it."

Sunday was not how Anaheim expected to tune up. Presumed No.1 goalie John Gibson was scratched because of illness, and Kesler was ejected in the first period of a game that had eight fighting majors.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier looked ready with 30 saves, and Corey Perry scored the overtime goal on a highlight-reel turnaround shot. 

Bernier graded their readiness low, though.

"I think we're still in the learning process," Bernier said. "We're brand new. That's why we have those three days before the season starts. We have to make sure we're sharp in practice and we're sharp on details."

Goalie Dustin Tokarski cleared waivers and was assigned to San Diego.

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