ANAHEIM -- Sheldon Souray and Francois Beauchemin were arguably the most effective defensive pairing in the NHL this season. They are a combined plus-38 and accounted for 13 of the 17 goals scored by Anaheim Ducks defensemen.
That's what makes it difficult to understand why coach Bruce Boudreau would split up the pair for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But that appears to be the case; Souray continued Tuesday to work with Ben Lovejoy while Beauchemin was with Cam Fowler.
Boudreau switched the pair a couple of practices ago but wouldn't say why, although there is some thought that one of them needs to be with a fast skater like Fowler to counter the Detroit Red Wings' skilled forwards.
"I'm not going to speculate or say why I'm doing things at this stage, but whatever we do there's a reason," Boudreau said Monday. "We're just not throwing names in a hat and pulling them out. We have a thought process that goes into everything. Trial and error, and you hope it works."
The pairings could change again if Luca Sbisa returns from a lower-body injury. That doesn't appear to be Tuesday, though. Sbisa did not take part in the regular line rushes.
Sbisa reported no steps back from an injury that kept him out of the final six regular season games. But he also wants to get completely right.
"I did everything I normally do," Sbisa said. "I just want to be cautious about it."
Henrik Zetterberg – Pavel Datsyuk – Justin Abdelkader
Valtteri Filppula – Johan Franzen - Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist – Joakim Andersson – Damien Brunner
Patrick Eaves – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey – Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl – Danny DeKeyser
Scratched: Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson, Ian White, Brian Lashof Carlo Colaiacovo.
Injured: Darren Helm (back), Drew Miller (hand).
Notes: Coach Mike Babcock reiterated that his lineup will remain the same even though Bertuzzi and Samuelsson reportedly are available. ... Much of the talk surrounded Detroit's defense that features three players with no playoff experience: DeKeyser, Smith and Kindl. "We've never had a D in Detroit like our D is now," Babcock said. "Three kids who've never played in a playoff game kind of thing. We've never been in a situation like this. It's a good one for us. We're excited about it. We've improved our back end. [Kronwall] been a big part of it."
Bobby Ryan – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Kyle Palmieri – Nick Bonino – Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik – Saku Koivu – Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey – David Steckel – Emerson Etem
Sheldon Souray – Ben Lovejoy
Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Bryan Allen – Toni Lydman
Scratched: Brad Staubitz, Radek Dvorak, Sami Vatanen, Patrick Maroon, Devante Smith-Pelly.
Injured: Luca Sbisa (lower body)
Notes: Beleskey appears to get the nod over Dvorak on the fourth line. Beleskey got ample playing time in the last week of the regular season and recorded the first power-play goals of his career. ... Boudreau reunited the Winnik-Koivu-Cogliano line late in the regular season. They are probably the team's most consistent and effective line this year.