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Walking Tall

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

Standing 5-foot-9, Ducks rookie Andrew Ebbett is the smallest player in stature on the Ducks roster. But he loomed large with his performance with the game on the line in another must-win contest at Dallas, one of the major reasons Anaheim prevailed for a 4-3 victory over the Stars.
Including his three-point performance (tying a career-high) last Saturday, Andrew Ebbett has eight points in his last seven games played for the Ducks.
The 26-year-old Ebbett scored the Ducks’ second goal of the game in the first period (initially credited to Chris Pronger) and totaled a team-high three points (also tying a career high) in the win. His biggest play came with the score deadlocked at 3-3 midway through the third period.

As Stars rookie James Neal attempted to skate the puck out of Dallas’ zone, Ebbett stripped it away in the slot with only defenseman Darryl Sydor left to contain him and Teemu Selanne from a scoring chance on goalie Marty Turco. Patiently waiting for a prime opening while Sydor flopped to the ice in a blocking attempt, Ebbett smoothly saucered the puck to Selanne, who chipped it five-hole to beat Turco and give the Ducks a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish in the Lone Star State.

“He was very patient,” the Finnish Flash said of Ebbett on the game-winning play. “He was waiting and waiting, and it was a great pass. “If he would have passed to me earlier, I would have tried to go far side. But I knew Turco was already there, so I just tried to hit the five-hole.”

While some would have looked to shoot in that scenario, Ebbett never really had the intention knowing a future Hall-of-Famer and 500-goal scorer was close by licking his chops. “The regular player, would probably, eight, nine times out of 10, shoot that puck,” Ebbett said. “Not me. With a guy like Teemu Selanne on the other side for the pass, you know that most times it’s going to be in.”

"He's a small player in stature, but he plays big on the ice," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle of Ebbett. "He gets knocked down, and he gets right back up. I call him the Energizer bunny. He's one of those guys that just doesn't quit."
After four seasons of college hockey with the University of Michigan from 2002-2006 and a single season with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators in 2006-07, Ebbett signed with the Ducsk in May 2007. The center made his NHL debut last season during three games in February 2008. One of the final players to be sent to Iowa at the conclusion of this season’s training camp, Ebbett’s biggest opportunity in the league has come since being brought back to Anaheim on Dec. 20 and he has responded.

Although teammate Bobby Ryan has received the lion’s share of rookie headlines among the Ducks, Ebbett has quietly etched a solid season (21 points in 30 games) and a place for himself among the top six forwards. With the Ducks in seemingly two-year search for that second-line center who could forge two scoring lines, Ebbett’s production since being recalled has been a welcome sight.

“He’s a small player in stature, but he plays big on the ice,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle of Ebbett, who has eight points in his last seven games. “He gets knocked down, and he gets right back up. I call him the Energizer bunny. He’s one of those guys that just doesn’t quit.”

Said Selanne, “I’m very happy to see those kinds of guys come up from the minors and contribute like he has done.”
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