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Hockey

Three takeaways from the Ducks’ 1-0 shutout of the Kings

 Ducks
Ducks left wing Nick Ritchie, right, puts Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin into the boards during the second period on Feb. 19 in Anaheim.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Clank. Bang. Ding. There wasn’t much that separated the Ducks and Kings in their third matchup this season.

Sami Vatanen and Joseph Cramarossa hit the post and crossbar, respectively, for the Ducks. Adrian Kempe hit the post and Trevor Lewis missed a glorious look for the Kings.

A 1-0 win by the Ducks was not surprising given that both teams rank in the bottom 10 of the NHL in five-on-five scoring.

Here’s what we learned:

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Ducks built for low-scoring affairs

Last season, former Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau made them a defense-first outfit because their offense was terrible. That DNA is still there, and it will be needed down the stretch.

“I think that’s the way we have to play,” Ryan Kesler said. “We’ve got to get back to defense first and I think the last little bit here we kind of went sideways and it’s good to see we’re back on track now.”

Sutter not happy with defensemen

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter switched up his pairs, as Jake Muzzin was partnered with Paul LaDue and Brayden McNabb with Alec Martinez. 

Sutter indicated a change was needed, and it could be interpreted as a critique of Muzzin and Martinez, who are a minus-8 and minus-11, respectively, in their past six games.

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“We moved guys around,” Sutter said. “Quite honest, we’ve got top defensemen that have had really tough times this season, so we split them up tonight.”

New Getzlaf line has potential

It’s only one game, but the new line of Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase was active the whole game. Ritchie’s 18 minutes, 34 seconds of ice time were his second-most this season behind his 21:14 on Oct.15.

Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle arranged the line after the suspension of Antoine Vermette.

“Those are easy minutes for those young guys to step into,” Carlyle said. “They’ve done a very good job, and we’re happy with their performance tonight, but we’ve got a game tomorrow night and we’re going to ask even more of them on the road.”


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