A short training camp forced Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to put together his lines from the first day and hope that some chemistry would be found amid the groupings. Any tinkering had to take place on napkins or the dry erase board during the lockout. Some units needed to click right off the bat if his team was to back up its talk of a faster start to the season. The trio of Dan Winnik, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano offered a ray of hope by delivering two goals for the Ducks in a surprising 7-3 rout of the Vancouver Canucks in their opener Saturday night. As their all-new third line, the Ducks are hoping this unit will give them the depth they've sorely needed for years. "I wish I had the crystal ball," Boudreau said. "But, man, if it did happen on a regular basis, you'd have a successful team." The big four of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan have long carried the scoring load, but the Ducks have gone through numerous players – both veterans and youngsters – to find a quality supporting cast. Maybe things are changing. Winnik got both of his line's scores Saturday by busting toward the net to either deflect in or finish passes from Koivu after Cogliano started the plays by using his speed to rush the puck up ice. Winnik said that a connection was made early in camp and they were "getting chances there so usually that transpires into the games." Cogliano said the combination of their speed allows their forechecking game to be effective, while Winnik's size is a complement as he can hang onto the puck in the offensive zone and allow him and Koivu to get open. Even if they don't score, the unit has to create chances and give teams another line to be concerned about. "I think our plan is to play good defensive sound hockey," Cogliano said. "Maybe against other team's top lines but do that in an offensive way. At the end of the day, the only way to really shut down a good line is to play offensively in their end. Because they're not in your end."
Third line's fast start bodes well for Ducks
Orange County Register | Jan 21