After a two-game split of a four game road trip, the Anaheim Ducks returned home to face the New Jersey Devils.
Prior to the start of the game, the Ducks had a 2-0-1 record at home. However, while on their road trip the Ducks lost two of their young players: Dan Sexton (broken nose) and Matt Beleskey (concussion), on top of losing Cam Fowler (broken nose) during the game before the road trip. All three players are twenty-three years of age or younger.
So far this season, the younger, less-seasoned players have been a bright spot for the Ducks. Fowler, a rookie defenseman from this year’s draft has only played in six NHL games and already has three points including his first career NHL goal. Beleskey has two points of his own and while Sexton is still searching for his first of the season, he has been crucial to the forward lines that coach Randy Carlyle has been experimenting with.
However, the Ducks have been struggling since these injuries occurred. The team has had difficulties filling in the gaps left behind by these three young players, as well as other injured players like Andy Sutton and Joffrey Lupul.
“The key is for the group that we have here to get executing playing to a higher level,” Carlyle commented on the impact of the injuries. “We still have a ways to go with the injured players getting back. Fowler’s the closest.”
They have also had to recall some players from their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, including Danny Syvret and Josh Green. Syvret, who is currently filling in for Fowler, scored his first goal with the Ducks organization and only his third of his NHL career and got an assist against the Devils.
Unfortunately, it was not enough. The Ducks lost the game 2-1, giving them their first regulation loss at home and an overall record of 4-6-1. The Ducks goal was scored by Jason Blake, his second of the season.
“It’s disappointing that we lost, but at the end of the day you got to look in the mirror and that’s one you got to be happy with,” Blake stated about getting back on the score sheet.
The Ducks play again on Saturday in San Jose against their division rival, the Sharks.