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Practice Report: New Line Combinations Getting Extended Look

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau liked what he saw from his newly configured line combinations that hounded the Kings for the final 20 minutes of regulation on Sunday. So much so, he used them again during practice today.

David Perron, the left wing acquired late Friday night from the Pittsburgh Penguins (along with defenseman Adam Clendening) in exchange for left wing Carl Hagelin, started Sunday’s game on a line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. But it wasn’t until the third period when the 27-year-old truly made an impact, and it just so happened to be with new linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Stewart. Getzlaf and Perron, in particular, seemed to find chemistry right off the bat, and it was the captain who assisted on Perron’s first goal as a Duck.

Perron was also used on the top power-play unit today with Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell and Shea Theodore.

“It’s about seeing if there’s any chemistry,” Boudreau said after practice. “You never know the reasons why, but I thought our third period was really good when we changed the lines.”

In his postgame comments, Perron said he liked the way his line was able to keep pucks alive down low in the offensive zone.

“I like when we can cycle it like that and kind of grind it down low and hold onto the puck,” Perron said. “Find the guys in the slot, keep cycling and wearing them down.”

The carryovers from last game were unchanged today. Replacing Perron on Sunday was Andrew Cogliano, who skated with Kesler and Silfverberg today. Getzlaf’s usual linemates, Perry and Rakell, were joined by Patrick Maroon. Getzlaf and Perry started the season on separate lines in an attempt to balance out the scoring, but quickly found themselves skating with one another soon after. Shawn Horcoff, Mike Santorelli, Jiri Sekac and Nate Thompson rotated on the fourth line.

Splitting up Getzlaf and Perry was an experiment that was short-lived earlier in the season, but it could be tried again tomorrow. Boudreau says having them on separate lines gives the opposition something to think about in terms of defensive matchups.

“Rakell and Perry would make it a lot more difficult for other teams to put their top-two defensemen against Perry and Getzlaf initially,” Boudreau said. “It’ll take a little bit of time to see. I don’t know David well enough yet.”

Frederik Andersen
was back in net today, one of three netminders on the ice, including John Gibson and Anton Khudobin. Andersen did not dress in Sunday’s game vs. Los Angeles due to an upper-body injury. Boudreau says he’ll need to talk with team trainers first to get an evaluation of Andersen’s health before making a decision for tomorrow night against the Minnesota Wild. Khudobin was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League and served as Gibson’s backup.

Not on the ice, however, was defenseman Sami Vatanen, who Boudreau says is dealing with a bout of flu. The 24-year-old ranks third on the team in scoring (6-16—22) and second in assists. Boudreau is hopeful Vatanen plays tomorrow. If Vatanen can’t play, perhaps we’ll see the debut of Clendening, who Boudreau describes as an offensive, puck-moving defenseman.

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