The Ducks secured a second consecutive victory over a struggling club, the Detroit Red Wings, with a 4-2 win Friday. The Ducks received contributions from each line, a welcome sight for coach Randy Carlyle, and something they’ll need if they want to qualify for the playoffs.
Here’s what we learned.
The fourth line continues to produce
For the third straight contest, the Jason Chimera-Derek Grant-Chris Kelly trio scored a goal, this time on a second-period shot from Grant, who has two goals in three games.
The line formed last month after Chimera was acquired hours before the trade deadline, the same day Kelly signed, and their chemistry is finally building.
Antoine Vermette and J.T. Brown will have difficulty cracking the lineup if the fourth line keeps playing like this, and really, it’s Grant who is powering the engine. He’s been a pleasant surprise all season, a career minor leaguer entering the campaign, but he’s strong on the puck and in the faceoff circle.
Nick Ritchie broke out of his slump
The third-line power forward not only scored but he also delivered two hits, two on goal and a fight that stoked emotions early in the contest.
The former first-round pick hasn’t lived up to expectations thus far, but together with Adam Henrique and Ondrej Kase, his unit has provided the Ducks with a strong forecheck and plenty of scoring chances.
“That’s been the staple of our line, if we forecheck well and create turnovers, we’ve been good, and when we haven’t done that, we haven’t been very good,” said Ritchie, who has seven goals and 17 assists on the season. “We’ve had a little rough stretch maybe the last few games, but it was nice to get a goal there and hopefully we can get back to it. It’s going to be important we keep going for the next 10 games.”
Pettersson gets his chance
With defenseman Kevin Bieksa sidelined for the next two to five weeks following surgery on his left hand Friday, it’s time for Marcus Pettersson to prove he belongs in the NHL as an everyday blue-liner. The 2014 second-round pick will likely be paired with Francois Beauchemin on the third unit each and every time out, barring injury, with just 10 games left to play.
Pettersson also played on the team’s second power play unit alongside Hampus Lindholm. He’s been tentative at times with the puck — after all, he’s played just 12 NHL games — but his lanky frame and long stick are assets for the club, as is his competitive nature.