Given a much longer taste of the NHL this season, Matt Beleskey
delivered his best moment yet in a Ducks uniform last night when he scored his first career goal in a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings.
|“It’s been a long time coming,” Beleskey said. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities and haven’t been able to put it in. It was a pretty good feeling to get that opportunity and to bury it.” |
“It’s been a long time coming,” Beleskey said after a day of reflection and following Wednesday’s practice. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities and haven’t been able to put it in. It was a pretty good feeling to get that opportunity and to bury it.”
The 21-year-old got that goal in his 24th career NHL game, including two last season. After Sheldon Brookbank
banked a shot off the end boards in the Detroit zone, Beleskey was in position knock in the rebound past goaltender Jimmy Howard. The goal, which gave the Ducks an important 2-0 lead in the first period, eventually stood as the game-winner.
Beleskey’s first two NHL games played came in a whirlwind six days last season. In his league debut (at Honda Center against Tampa Bay on Jan. 9, 2009), Beleskey arrived at the arena with just 10 minutes to spare before game time after being recalled earlier that afternoon while in Iowa. He would play one more home game against New Jersey two nights later before getting sent back down to the AHL on Jan. 15.
“It was a quick one last year,” said Beleskey of his six-day stay.
This season the left winger has received an extended look from the coaching staff, and is currently in his second Ducks stint of the campaign. After a short three-game stay in late October, Beleskey was brought up again on Nov. 29 and has stuck around to play in the club’s last 19 games.
“I worked hard this summer with the skating coach. I think it helped my game a lot and obviously the coaches think so too,” Beleskey said. “When you get that shot, you have to make the best of it. I hope it’s something I keep getting. If not, I just have to work my way into that position.”
A fourth round pick (112th overall selection) of the Ducks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Beleskey has bounced around the team’s forward lines in recent weeks as injuries have caused head coach Randy Carlyle to tinker with his groupings. The 6-0, 204-pound winger’s latest landing spot was beside 2010 Team Canada representatives Ryan Getzlaf
and Corey Perry
on the team’s top line. He responded to the promotion by finding the back of the net.
|“His overall growth has been one where you could say that he’s a better player now than he was a month and a half ago,” said Carlyle. “He’s earned some noticeable points in that we like what he did last night.” |
“Playing with Corey and Getz, they are pretty good guys to play with if you want to score a goal,” said Beleskey after last night’s fourth straight home win. “They are two of the best players in the league. They just control the play and always have the puck on their stick. It’s pretty easy for me.”
Said Carlyle, “He’s an energy guy and it was nice to see him get his first goal. It’s always big when a young player gets his first goal. He feels good about himself and he should.
En route to scoring career goal No .1, Beleskey said he suffered through probably the “longest drought of my life,” while recognizing that it came at the game’s highest level. He has shown a knack for lighting the lamp before at the junior level, totaling 41 goals just two seasons ago in 2007-08 with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL.
“His overall growth has been one where you could say that he’s a better player now than he was a month and a half ago,” said Carlyle. “He’s earned some noticeable points in that we like what he did last night.”Injury notes:Teemu Selanne
(broken bone in left hand) once again participated in practice with the Ducks and reported that Wednesday “was a huge step forward”, as he tries to come back from an injury that he suffered Dec. 3 at Dallas. The Finnish Flash was to have his stitches removed and x-rays performed this afternoon before hearing his prognosis for a return.
“I am getting really close and am excited,” Selanne said. “I was shooting pretty well and could handle the puck better today. Starting on Monday, I began doing a lot of exercises that I wasn’t able to do before. If I take this kind of step every day, I’m playing pretty soon. The latest is the weekend. On the same hand, let’s see what the doctor says. At this point, one or two more days to be sure, it’s nothing instead of forcing it and taking a couple of steps back.”