ANAHEIM, Calif. — The final game of the Ducks’ franchise-record 10-game homestand concludes tomorrow night with a matchup against the New Jersey Devils. It’s been a rough week for Anaheim as they were battered 7-1 by the Boston Bruins on Sunday night in Hampus Lindholm’s return to Honda Center and then fell 6-2 to Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers last night.
The matchup with the Oilers marked the return of Max Jones from an upper-body injury that had kept him out for a month. His TOI was a team-low 13:24 as the team managed his minutes in his first game back, but he saw time on the power play toward the conclusion of the game.
“At the end of the game I thought Jonesy had given us a really solid game,” said head coach Dallas Eakins at this morning’s practice. “I thought Sam Carrick (and Max) Comtois had (as well) and rather than just roll out our normal power play unit, I thought it was a chance for them to not only get a goal for our team but maybe get something for themselves.”
Carrick found himself on the scoreboard, finishing a nice backdoor pass from Comtois, who had two points (both assists) of his own. The line of Carrick, Comtois and Silfverberg has found some chemistry of late, as they helped produce both Anaheim goals on the night. Though Silfverberg was not credited for any points, it was his hard work in helping retrieve the puck that ultimately helped set up Carrick’s goal.
“We’ve been playing together the last three or four games,” said Silfverberg. “I feel like we’ve been pretty consistent, just haven’t been able to score, and obviously the line gets two goals—that’s good for our confidence. But I think we did a good job of keeping it simple, moving the puck north and getting pucks down below their goal line.”
For Silfverberg, a milestone also awaits Friday night. The Swede is expected to suit up for his 700th game in the NHL. “My first few seasons here we did really well and had a couple of playoff runs and then the conference final twice, so obviously those are some fond memories.”
“The last few years haven’t been as successful for us as a team and me as well so just looking to bounce back here. Early on in my career here in Anaheim, we had some really strong teams and some serious pushes (for the Cup), so hopefully we get back there.”
Being in the lineup on a consistent basis was something Silfverberg had trouble with over the past couple of seasons, first undergoing hip surgery in April 2021 and then having his 2021-22 season cut short due to a blood clot last March.
“It’s not something you think about so (I) just try not to take it for granted. (To) be able to play every night, just trying to make sure I put my work boots on and go to work. Try to enjoy every night and try to have a good game.”
Anthony Stolarz made his second appearance since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out for most of December, relieving John Gibson prior to the third period. He stopped all 16 shots he faced, including two grade-A opportunities for McDavid.
“Back to being 100% which is the most important (part),” said Stolarz. “I kind of used that time off as kind of a reset. Kind of go back and watch film, watch other goalies and whatnot. Just try to be a student of the game. I feel comfortable, I feel confident in there right now so it’s just about being prepared and working hard.”
Eakins was non-committal when asked about whether Stolarz or Gibson would man the crease tomorrow night. “We’re going to discuss it. I’m not sure that game was fair to Gibby. Stolie came in and did a hell of a job so that’ll be the discussion: ‘Do we reward Stolie for coming in and doing a good job or do we go back to Gibby because he didn’t deserve what he got.’”