The second half of this week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors focuses on the return of Rickard Rakell, the continued rise of Trevor Zegras and a terrific goaltending performance from Anthony Stolarz.
Rakell on Fire since Injury’s Return
Since returning from injury, Rakell has scored points in each of the three games he’s played in. After a month-long layoff due to an injury to his upper body, Rakell was able to score a goal and assist against the Ottawa Senators Friday. That gave him four points in just three games. Dallas Eakins, Ducks’ head coach, has been able to keep Zegras & Sonny Milano together after his return and have Rakell as a scoring wing.
Nic Deslauriers had spent the past several games on the Zegras line, but Adam Henrique’s absence on Wednesday meant that there was a bit of line shuffling to be done. Henrique returned for Friday’s gameHenrique took his usual spot on the top-line with Troy Terry and Ryan Getzlaf. Rakell, Henrique, and Terry manning six of the top positions, Deslauriers slid down to the fourth place, playing alongside Sam Carrick, Derek Grant, and Sam Carrick.
The Ducks are now dependent on other sources of goals after Max Comtois was injured and has been struggling this season. Terry’s breakout campaign continued with another goal against the Senators — after he was held scoreless the previous two games — and the combination of Zegras and Milano has become an offensive godsend. But Rakell’s return to form after a subpar 2020-21 season would be a welcome sight.
Zegras is second in rookie scoring
Zegras is earning points on the Ice and Interviews off the ice. After his terrific performances last week, the Ducks phenom jumped to second among rookies in scoring with two assists during the Ducks’ Black Friday matinee against the Senators. He has now scored 14 points in 19 of his games, and nine in six of his last six.
Zegras’ chemistry with the aforementioned Milano has created two exceptional scoring lines for Eakins to deploy and Zegras should also continue to see time on the Ducks’ first power-play unit. He still has the chance to win Calder Memorial Trophy despite only playing in 24 games last year. Though he may not be the current frontrunner, there’s a good chance that he could be at the top of the lot by the end of the season.
Senators are Shut down by Stolarz
It’s been three weeks since Stolarz’s last start, a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. A goal with eight seconds remaining in the third period ruined what was otherwise a solid performance from the netminder, but he would achieve the elusive shutout in yesterday’s matinee event.
John Gibson is a tough understudy. Starts are rare. Stolarz has proven to be up to the task. His brief eight-game cameo last season was enough to convince the Ducks’ brass that he deserved the backup goaltender spot — and he was also Rewarded with a new contract.
Stolarz’s ability to maintain focus with such a long break in between each start will be tested to the fullest. His record for the season is currently 2-2-1, with a.930 save percent and 2.39 goals-against an average.
Related: Ducks News & Rumors: Comtois, McTavish & More
The Ducks have been on a streak-snapping agenda lately, with their eight-game winning streak coming to an end last week and Terry’s point streak coming to an end on Monday. With their win yesterday, the Ducks ended their three-game losing streak and will be looking to start a new winning streak Sunday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Derek is a hockey fan since 10 years, and a sports enthusiast in general since more than 20 years.
He graduated from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication and spent the last several years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a reporter and editor. He now creates Ducks-related content at his Southern California home.