IRVINE, Calif. – Ahead of their game on Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Ducks were on the ice for practice on Thursday morning.
A couple of Ducks, Mason McTavish and Jakob Silfverberg, were under the weather and did not take part in practice. It was a maintenance day for Trevor Zegras, who was also not on the ice as well.
With the trio of Ducks out, here’s how the practice lines looked:
|Max Jones||Leo Carlsson||Troy Terry|
|Frank Vatrano||Benoit-Olivier Groulx||Ryan Strome|
|Brock McGinn||Adam Henrique||Alex Killorn|
|Ross Johnston||Sam Carrick||Brett Leason|
|Cam Fowler||Jackson LaCombe|
|Pavel Mintyukov||Ilya Lyubushkin|
|Urho Vaakanainen||Radko Gudas|
One player who has seen his role grow exponentially since the beginning of the season is defenseman Jackson LaCombe. Initially paired with Radko Gudas, LaCombe has now been elevated to the top pair alongside Cam Fowler in the wake of an injury to Jamie Drysdale.
LaCombe currently averages a shade over 20 minutes of time on ice, third-most amongst skaters on the team behind Fowler and Drysdale, though the latter has appeared in just two games this far.
LaCombe also plays a big role on the penalty kill, where he has spent most of that time playing alongside Gudas. He has the third-most penalty killing time on ice (3:16) behind Fowler and Gudas. In just a short amount of time, the 22-year-old has earned the trust of the coaching staff.
“It’s a privilege to be in that role,” said LaCombe. “Every game you’ve got to be ready for that. For me, it’s helping me get better and adjust (to the NHL) as well.”
One person who’s been a big influence for LaCombe is assistant coach Brent Thompson, who works with the defense and penalty kill.
“I think he’s just so positive with us,” continued LaCombe. “He’s like (head coach Greg Cronin), always just wanting us to get better and improve. He’s been pushing us a lot so it’s been great.”
After a tough loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Ducks will look to get back on track against the Flyers tomorrow. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM PST.