Sports

What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators

Shea Theodore

Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Ottawa Senators at Honda Center in Anaheim on Jan. 13.

(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

The Ducks began the second half of the season with a scoring flurry that makes one wonder where that has been in the first half.

They scored three goals in 3 1/2 minutes of the third period, starting with rookie defenseman Shea Theodore’s first NHL goal, which stood as the game winner in a 4-1 win Wednesday against Ottawa.

After a 2-2 start to their eight-game home stand that Coach Bruce Boudreau called “mediocre,” the Ducks righted their offense, at least for one night.

Here’s what we learned:

Youth was their medicine

The Ducks’ roster has no shortage of veterans, including Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, but it turns out it took 20-year-old Theodore to flip the switch on their offense. He became the first Ducks rookie to have his first NHL goal come as a power-play, game-winning goal since Shane O’ Brien in 2006.

“After Shea scored that goal we really took over the game,” left wing Carl Hagelin said. “I know there wasn’t that much [time] left, but they didn’t have any chances after that.”

“You could see everybody on the bench [get energized], and hopefully that carries on to the next game.”

It’s difficult to explain why Ryan Getzlaf is having his worst season

It’s one thing for the Ducks captain to struggle offensively, but his defensive play this season is arguably the worst in his career with inexplicable giveaways dotting his games.

Getzlaf’s turnover led to an Ottawa goal, and Boudreau promptly benched him for the next eight-plus minutes. Boudreau said it was a difficult message to send, but that he was glad to see Getzlaf made up for it with a pretty assist on Theodore’s goal.

“It meant a lot to him,” Boudreau said. “He’s a really proud man, and the team picked him up, and it was good to see that he vindicated himself.”

Defense continues to lead the way

Lost in the offense was the fact that the Ducks extended their streak of penalties killed to 31. That has stretched over nine games.

It has been a big part of their resiliency. The Ducks have begun the last two games killing two penalties off the bat and are basically playing uphill to start. It’s a trend that likely won’t end considering that the team has been shorthanded 147 times this season, sixth-most in the NHL.