The Ducks scored another much-needed victory with a 4-2 defeat of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday at Honda Center.
They were forced to skate without their best player, captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is battling the flu, but they welcomed two new players to the lineup as well as the return of starting goalie John Gibson. Here’s what we learned:
The Ducks’ blueliners created plenty of offense. Cam Fowler ranked second on the club with four shots, and he produced a goal and an assist. Josh Manson added a goal on a breakaway. When the defensemen are providing offense like this, the Ducks are a hard club to beat.
The team has been using new combinations recently. Fowler was paired with Brandon Montour, and then the shutdown unit of Hampus Lindholm and Manson were together after being separated since rookie Marcus Pettersson’s call-up. The Swede played alongside Francois Beauchemin, which gave the Ducks three dependable units.
Jason Chimera and Chris Kelly made their debuts with the Ducks, and were effective on the penalty kill. The pair of veterans, both acquired Monday, played together on the fourth line, with Antoine Vermette centering.
“They were very visible on the ice with their speed and they can skate, so it’s nice to have a veteran presence,” coach Randy Carlyle said, “but there’s going to be a little bit of a transition period for both those guys ... more specifically on the defensive side and then some penalty killing.”
Derek Grant filled in capably for Getzlaf on the top unit. The career minor leaguer also was pressed into duty while the All-Star captain recovered from a broken cheekbone, but since Getzlaf returned, Grant has played on the fourth line when he wasn’t a healthy scratch.
Grant provided a physical presence and was tremendous on the draw: He won 92% of his faceoffs. Once Getzlaf returns, Grant figures to slot in on the fourth line between Chimera and Kelly.
“We started with the puck,” Carlyle said. “He was good in the faceoff circle; he was around the puck. We scored the first goal with [Rickard] Rakell off a nice rebound, good play by Cam Fowler, so that kind of gets those guys going. And it’s always good when you’re missing your big guy that someone steps into that position for you.”