Ducks eke out win over Senators

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks squeaked out a 2-1 win over the Senators on Wednesday night.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Ducks drew the short end of the stick on a rainy Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators, forced to deploy 11 forwards and seven defensemen after trading Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick to the Edmonton Oilers earlier in the day.

The Senators drew first blood early in the first, with Mark Kastelic getting a stick on Artem Zub’s shot from the point. Lukáš Dostál could do nothing about the sudden change in direction due to traffic around the net.

Anaheim predictably struggled to generate much initially on offense with Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, Leo Carlsson and Trevor Zegras all out of the lineup due to injuries. Terry and Carlsson are dealing with upper-body injuries while McTavish has a lower-body injury and Zegras is still recovering from a broken ankle.

The Ducks did apply more pressure in the second and were rewarded with a kind bounce for the game-tying goal. A rush up ice spearheaded by Brett Leason and continued by a brilliant touch pass by Frank Vatrano helped set up Ryan Strome, whose return pass attempt to Vatrano deflected off Jake Sanderson’s skate and past goaltender Mads Søgaard.

“I thought we had some really nice passing in the second period,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “We were moving the puck around well and getting into their zone. The issue that we had––and we’ve had it all year––is we just don’t put pucks on the net. We miss them, I think we had two posts tonight. We had some quality chances in the slot that went wide. But I liked the way we played in the second period.”

Pavol Regenda and Glenn Gawdin were recalled from AHL San Diego prior to the game due to the Henrique/Carrick deal and immediately slotted into the lineup. Regenda skated on a line with Bo Groulx and Jakob Silfverberg and showed flashes throughout the game. One of the Ducks’ better chances came on an odd-man rush between Regenda and Silfverberg, with the latter perhaps surprised by one last return pass from the former and the puck skittering off his stick as a result.

Gawdin skated on the shorthanded fourth line alongside Ross Johnston and was also a part of Anaheim’s penalty-killing unit as the Ducks reorganized their special teams units.

“I think (Regenda) played well,” said Cronin. “He got on a line with Bo and (Silfverberg) and he got some quality minutes at the end and I thought he did a good job.”

Early goals were a theme throughout the game as the third goal came just 3:27 into the third period. Cam Fowler zipped a pass over to Olen Zellweger at the point on his off-side, with the young defenseman sending a pass toward the net. Alex Killorn got a stick on it and deflected the puck past Søgaard. It was Killorn’s 10th goal of the season and his second in as many games.

“It feels good to get a tip-in goal,” said Killorn. “I like to get those and that’s how I’ve scored a lot in the past in Tampa. To get some greasy goals like that, that’s a good sign.”

“He’s been terrific, said Cronin. “And I think he knows that in the absence of Adam Henrique, he’s going to have to be more of a leader. Alex has the ability to generate points. He had his best year in his career last year in terms of points per game and if he can continue to do that for us, it’s going to help us with the absence of Henrique.”

Dostál was nails in the third period, stopping all 18 shots that he faced. He has now stopped 111 of 116 shots in his last three starts, including a 52-save performance last Friday against the New Jersey Devils.

Mar 6, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal (1) celebrates a victory after defeating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s playing awesome,” said Zellweger. “For the three games I’ve been back up, he’s been really good. He plays the puck well too, so lot of things he’s been doing to give us confidence.”

“It feels good to get a win,” said Killorn. “We have a ton of guys out, so to muster up a win is great.”

“It’s huge,” said Zellweger. “I think it shows that we have resilience. We’re still confident in everyone that’s here. It’s going to be big moving forward that we keep that belief.”