Ducks do the double on Golden Knights thanks to Leason, Drysdale

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Anaheim Ducks got back in the win column with their second victory of the season over the Vegas Golden Knights.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Ducks got back in the win column on Wednesday night with an exhilarating win over the Vegas Golden Knights, their second victory this season against their division foes.

Brett Leason’s first multi-goal game of his NHL career paved the way for Anaheim, with additional goals coming from Jamie Drysdale, Frank Vatrano and Troy Terry in a 5-2 game. Drysdale’s goal was his first since March 31, 2022, after the defenseman missed essentially all of last season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He also missed 29 games this season with a lower-body injury and recently returned last Thursday.

“It’s nice to get on the board but it’s also nice to get a win against a team like that, especially at home,” said Drysdale.

11 different Ducks were on the scoresheet on Wednesday, with Leason and Mason McTavish––who had three primary assists––among those who had multiple points. McTavish and Drysdale, along with Trevor Zegras, returned from respective injuries last week and all three have seen their name on the scoresheet since then.

“When you lose those pieces, it’s a big impact,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “I always say your team starts on your backend. I think Drysdale’s impact is huge. His ability to break pucks out, his ability to generate offense through the neutral zone––whether he’s passing or skating. His ability to be an offensive threat in the offensive zone with and without the puck. He does it real fluidly. It just adds more potency to our whole group when he’s on the ice.”

“You never want to rely on one line or one player,” said Drysdale. “It’s a team game for a reason. I think when everyone’s contributing, it’s a big boost for the team.”

“I thought we started strong,” said Leason, who opened the scoring just three minutes into the game with a deft deflection of Cam Fowler’s point shot. “We were playing fast, shooting pucks and getting lots of chances.”

Leason, who was claimed off of waivers just after the end of training camp last season, has been able to carve out a role for himself this season after a full training camp with Anaheim and has seen promotions from the fourth line to the second and third lines in recent games.

“It’s a big year for me. I want to perform to the best of my ability. We have a good team here, I think we can get some wins. We’ve been a bit unlucky, lots of one-goal defeats. But I think we’re a good team and we can compete.”

John Gibson also had to be sharp as Anaheim wavered a bit in the second period after a strong first. A myriad of penalties quelled any momentum they had and allowed the Golden Knights to start applying pressure. In total, Gibson stopped 30 of 32 shots.

“I stand by it always that he’s a top goalie in this league,” said Drysdale. “Tonight isn’t the first time, he does it night in and night out. He’s a hell of a goalie and he made a lot of big stops for us tonight.”