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What we learned from the Ducks' split-squad preseason triumphs

What we learned from the Ducks' split-squad preseason triumphs
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen blocks a shot by the Avalanche in the first period of a preseason game Monday night in Anaheim. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Five things we learned from the Ducks' pair of split-squad victories in their preseason-opening games:

Frederik Andersen looks to be in midseason form

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It doesn't count, there was no Nathan MacKinnon on the ice for the Colorado Avalanche, but Andersen's 27-save shutout in the 4-0 win at Honda Center was eye-catching.

"He looked really calm, really composed, 'nothing's going to beat me tonight,' " Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It has to do something for his confidence, reinforces the work he did all summer long."

Andersen, who won 20 regular-season games as a rookie before getting hurt in the Western Conference semifinals and yielding to the rookie John Gibson he's expected to share playing time with this season, said he "did the right things, had the right compete level."

He kept the Avalanche scoreless on 13 first-period shots, then early in the second stopped a Paul Carey
up-close chance on one of five power plays, quickly followed by the dismissal of Michael Sgarbossa's backhand.

"It's not about what they see, it's about how I feel," Andersen said. "When it's decision time, that's Bruce. Getting quicker, more lateral speed. … I feel great after the off-season of training, getting quicker and stronger."

Dany Heatley will challenge for a first-line spot

The newly acquired Heatley wants the first-line spot he was awarded in the preseason opener to carry into the season.

Heatley, 33, a former two-time 50-goal scorer, needed all of 48 seconds to score the opening goal in Anaheim, taking a feed from center Ryan Getzlaf and blasting it past Colorado goalie Reto Berra.

"Didn't take him long to embrace it," Boudreau said. "That's good for Dany's confidence. Those guys -- Heatley, [Corey] Perry and Getzlaf -- they've gone through the first games for quite awhile. They did what they have to do."

Heatley led the Ducks with seven shots.

The Ducks' penalty-killing unit looks formidable

With their top four defensemen on the ice joined by the penalty killing line they foresee with center Nate Thompson, the Ducks were five for five in penalty kills.

"Our forecheck was some of the best we've done," said defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who also scored a goal. "We were hungry, in their face … for the first night."

Rickard Rakell has the edge in pursuit of the fourth center's job

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The second-year player stepped in front of a bad pass and blasted a first-period goal past Berra en route to a six-hit night in which he won seven of nine faceoffs.

Free-agent pickup Brad Winchester gets a boost

Winchester might be an outsider in the crowded chase for the final two forward spots, but the 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward boosted his name recognition by scoring the first two goals in the Ducks' 5-2 victory in Denver.

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