The third game of Anaheim’s 2014 preseason slate is upon us, as the Ducks host the visiting Arizona Coyotes tonight at Honda Center (7 p.m.). The Ducks enter the game with a 2-0 record after dispatching the Colorado Avalanche in a pair of split-squad games last night (5-2 at Pepsi Center, 4-0 at Honda Center).
Four players had multi-point nights, including Brad Winchester (2g), Ben Lovejoy (1g/1a), Louis Leblanc (2a) and Ryan Getzlaf (2a). In all, 17 Ducks recorded at least a point in last night's split-squad games. Frederik Andersen stopped all 27 shots in the 4-0 victory in Anaheim, while Jason LaBarbera (40:00 TOI, 19 saves, 21 shots) and Igor Bobkov (20:00 TOI, 5 saves, 5 shots) handled the road operations. Bobkov was credited with the victory in Colorado after the Ducks scored four unanswered goals in the third period.
The Coyotes also played a pair of split-squad games last night against the LA Kings. Both games went to shootouts, with Arizona winning 5-4 at Gila River Arena, and losing 4-3 at Staples Center. After two games, Martin Hanzal (2g/1a) and rookies Henrik Samuelsson (1g/2a) and Max Domi (3a) lead the Coyotes with three points apiece.
Ducks forward Stefan Noesen was one of the players who made the trip to Colorado. It was a long time coming for the 21-year-old Texan, who suffered a devastating knee injury in early October of last year. [Read more about his road to recovery].
Noesen was on the ice for the morning skate here at Honda Center, and says playing in last night's game was a great feeling.
“It felt awesome,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than putting on a Ducks jersey. It felt really good to get out there and play the best that I could.”
Noesen says he’s sticking to his game plan in hopes of separating himself from the pack in a deep Ducks lineup. “I just need to play my game,” he said. “I’m different than [Rickard] Rakell, [William] Karlsson and some of these guys who are pushing for spots. I’m physical, I like to play big and I have a few little skill sets that I consider myself pretty good at.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau says it’ll be a younger Ducks lineup that dresses tonight against the Coyotes. “There are jobs to be had on our team, so it’s a competition,” he said. “We’ll see how they do. John Gibson is going in net. I’m sure he saw with Freddie [Andersen] did last night.”
DRAWING A COMPARISON
When Boudreau was asked about the skillset of young Swedish center William Karlsson, he compared him to a fellow Swede who he used to coach. “I don’t want to give this comparison to give him too much credit,” he said. But if you watch him play, and if you’ve seen Nick Backstrom play, they skate the same, they have the same hair and they have the same mannerisms. If he could ever become a player like that, then that would be pretty special.”
Karlsson shined in the two Futures Games vs. San Jose earlier this month, leading the team with four points (2g/2a). Last night, Karlsson earned an assist on Patrick Maroon’s goal in the third period of Anaheim's 5-2 victory at Pepsi Center.
Following tonight’s game, the Ducks will play the Kings on Thursday, September 25 at Staples Center (7:30 p.m.). Anaheim’s preseason schedule also includes the final road game in San Jose (Saturday, September 27; 5 p.m.) before concluding with a pair of home contests against the Kings (Sunday, September 28; 5 p.m.) and Sharks (Saturday, October 4; 7 p.m.).
Tonight's radio broadcast will be streamed on AnaheimDucks.com and on the Ducks Mobile App. Mobile app users can access the stream by clicking LIVE RADIO in the app menu.