Anaheim rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin registered two assists and scored the eventual game-winner to lead the Mighty Ducks over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2, on Wednesday night at the Arrowhead Pond.
The victory was the Ducks’ fifth on home ice in their last six contests. Anaheim is also 6-2-1 in their last nine games overall.
“We just had a good start and put the pressure on them,” said Beauchemin.
“We wanted to come out hard tonight and that’s what we did. It got them tired in the end. It was really great for us. I couldn’t have asked for more right now.”
The Ducks went down early in the second period when the Bolts’ Brad Richards (11, Boyle, Lecavalier) beat JS Giguere on the power play at 2:54 of the period.
Anaheim would strike back with two deflections, less than a minute apart in the second period, to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.
Todd Marchant (4, S. Niedermayer, Beauchemin) tied the contest at 4:29 of the second period when the center deflected a Scott Niedermayer slap shot past Lightning goaltender John Grahame.
Zenon Konopka (4, Beauchemin, Lupul) broke the tie, on the power play, at 5:12 of the second by tipping home a high shot off the stick of Beauchemin to give the Ducks the 2-1 lead.
In the third period, the Ducks would take a 3-1 lead on Beauchemin's power play goal (2, McDonald, Sykora), his third point of the contest. The rookie blue-liner crashed the net from his point position to jam a loose puck by Grahame for what would prove to be the game-winner for the Ducks.
“It was just one of those nights where I was able to take the puck to the net,” said Beauchemin. “We have been working on our power play and it paid off. I just happened to take the puck in and get a goal.”
Vaclav Prospal scored his 14th goal of the season to cut the Ducks' lead to 3-2 at 17:14 of the third period. It wasn’t enough as center Rob Niedermayer (9, Pahlsson, Carney) added an empty net tally to seal the victory for the Ducks.
“Tonight was our best team effort of the year, said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “We started to shoot the puck and got some breaks. It was a high-paced hockey game.”
Anaheim will next face the rival Los Angeles Kings at the Arrowhead Pond on Friday at 7:30 PM.
NOTES: Beauchemin tied a club record for rookie defensemen with his three point effort (1-2=3). The feat had been achieved three times previously, the last by Mike Crowley on October 21, 1998 vs. Boston…Marchant’s second period goal was his first as a Mighty Duck…Joffrey Lupul has eight points (4-4=8) in his last eight games.