Ducks getting lift from newcomers as Devils hit town

NHL Hockey
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The new guys are making a big impact in Anaheim, and that’s something the Ducks hope continues as the New Jersey Devils visit Sunday.

It is the fifth of a six-game homestand, and Ducks coach Dallas Eakins wants to see an effort similar to Friday’s 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I thought we played with a little snarl out there,” Eakins said. “When we do that, we usually play very well. It’s something we have to keep working on all the time. Just a real complete 60 minutes for us.”

Ducks general manager Bob Murray made seven swaps heading into the NHL trade deadline, including six on Monday.

Among his bigger moves, he got center Danton Heinen from Boston for left winger Nick Ritchie, left wing Sonny Milano from Columbus for center Devin Shore, defenseman Matt Irwin from Nashville for blueliner Korbinian Holzer, defenseman Christian Djoos from Washington for right winger Daniel Sprong, and defenseman Joel Persson from Edmonton for goaltender Angus Redmond.

All but Persson were in the lineup for Friday’s win over Pittsburgh. The defensemen logged significant ice time — Irwin at 21:43 and Djoos at 16:46 — while Heinen scored the first Ducks goal and Milano assisted on Ryan Getzlaf’s marker.

“The new guys are really buying into the system we want to play,” said Ducks defender Brendan Guhle, who scored his first career game-winning goal and third goal of the season Friday. “We want to get pucks deep and play a hard-nosed game, win battles and capitalize on our chances. Sonny had two goals the other night, Danton scored tonight, so it’s huge for us.”

Heinen said it hasn’t taken long at all for him to find chemistry with his new linemates, Adam Henrique and Kiefer Sherwood.

“(The game against Edmonton) was kind of like heads all over the place,” said Heinen, whom Boston picked in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. “(Against Anaheim) was easier to get more comfortable and try to communicate and get systems down a little more. It felt a little better tonight and hopefully we can keep building.”

The win over Pittsburgh was the Ducks’ second straight victory and extended their point streak to three straight games, starting with last Sunday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Devils lost 2-1 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, their second of a four-game trip through California and Las Vegas.

Jesper Bratt scored the Devils’ only goal for his 15th of the season. Mackenzie Blackwood made 36 saves for the Devils but saw his six-game winning streak end. Nikita Gusev extended his point streak to five games with an assist.

Devils head coach Alain Nasreddine said his team didn’t manage the puck well in overtime.

“It started with us,” he said. “We took a shot, not really a real quality shot and ended up giving the (Kings) possession. They just kept it, kept it, kept it until they got that scoring chance, and it ended up costing us.”

The Devils beat the Ducks 3-1 in New Jersey in December, but the Ducks have won nine of their previous 12 encounters with the Devils.

–Field Level Media

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