Deslauriers' return to NHL is a success
Even with 58 games of NHL experience under his belt, Jeff Deslauriers was understandably nervous Tuesday when he learned he would get the start for the Ducks against the Dallas Stars.
Deslauriers made it through 60 minutes just fine.
The one-time Edmonton Oilers netminder got his first win for his new club as he made 26 saves in a 5-2 victory, giving him his first win at this level since April 7, 2010. It has been a long road back to the league since.
His action had been exclusively in the American Hockey League, where he moved from the Oilers' organization to the Ducks over the summer as a free agent. But Deslauriers got his chance when Jonas Hiller was sidelined because of a lower-body injury.
"I think every game we play at this level, it's an opportunity," Deslauriers said. "It's a new challenge every night. That's why you want to play. That's what you work for. So when you have a chance, you want to give everything you have. Make a good impression, that's for sure."
There was an ironic twist to his start. Deslauriers' last NHL game was a horrific one in which he allowed all seven goals to the Ducks in a 7-2 defeat to end the 2009-10 regular season -- also at Honda Center.
This one went much better. The Ducks gave him a two-goal lead, and while Deslauriers allowed goals 64 seconds apart to Dallas' Steve Ott and Alex Goligoski, those would be the only pucks that got by him.
Saku Koivu supported him with his second career hat trick, including the game-winning goal midway through the third that snapped a 2-2 tie and an empty-netter with 53.7 seconds left. Matt Beleskey and Luca Sbisa also scored.
"Obviously, it's been a year and a half since I've played an NHL game, so it's been a long time," Deslauriers said. "So I was very happy to be back in. Everybody here made me feel like part of the family. We won because the guys played hard in front.
"You have Saku scoring three goals, stepping up big time. Defensemen clearing the rebound and making me see the puck. All that together makes us get the two points tonight."
--G Jonas Hiller did not play against the Dallas because of a lower-body injury he suffered Sunday against Columbus. Hiller appeared to hurt himself while making a sprawling save on Jackets star Rick Nash late in the first period of the Ducks' eventual 7-4 victory. He has been a workhorse for the Ducks, playing in 35 of the team's 40 games this season. Coach Bruce Boudreau said that Hiller, who didn't take part in the morning skate, will go on the team's three-game road trip to western Canada. "We were hoping that he would be able to skate today and back up, but now it's pushed back," Boudreau said. "We're hoping the same thing for Calgary. So it's still day-to-day. That's why we brought Jeff (Deslauriers) up. You never knew if it was going to happen or not going to happen."
--LW Jean-Francois Jacques was suspended three games by the NHL as a result of his hit on Columbus forward R.J. Umberger on Sunday night. Jacques caught Umberger with an elbow to his head in the third period. The play resulted in a five-minute major penalty, and he will have to forfeit $23,780.49 in salary to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. Brendan Shanahan, the league's senior vice president of player safety, explained that Jacques' hit violated Rule 48.1 for an illegal check to the head. "J.F. hit a player that was vulnerable after shooting the puck, and he needs to be more aware in those situations," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "We will accept the league's ruling and will move forward." Jacques was then sent down to Syracuse of the AHL.
--RW Teemu Selanne appeared in his 1,300th NHL game, becoming the 52nd player in league history to reach that milestone and the ninth European-born player to play that many games. He also became the second Finnish-born player, joining countryman Teppo Numminen. "That's a big number," he said. "A couple of guys reminded me today that maybe there's some money on the board. They don't forget stuff like that. Obviously, it's a log of good things (that) happen when you can play so many games. I'm obviously very thankful for that." Three other active players have played in as many games -- Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom (1,536), Washington's Roman Hamrlik (1,347) and Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr (1,308).
--D Kyle Cumiskey was called up from Syracuse (AHL) on Monday, Cumiskey, 25, is in his first season with the organization and has two goals and 12 assists in 29 games for the Crunch. The defenseman was acquired on Oct. 8 from Colorado for defense prospect Jake Newton and a conditional 2013 seventh-round pick. The Ducks also were able to assign defenseman Mark Fraser to Syracuse after he cleared waivers. Fraser had been with the Crunch on a conditioning assignment and has two assists and a plus-3 rating in five games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "There was no way I would take that shot myself. I knew Saku had a chance to score a hat trick. So happy for him. You don't see that very often. Usually, he's the passer. It was good to see him get the hat trick. He has played really well lately." -- Teemu Selanne on linemate Saku Koivu's three-goal game against Dallas
--C Saku Koivu scored three times against Dallas for his second career hat trick. His other one came on Nov. 18, 2002 while playing for Montreal against Pittsburgh. Koivu has four goals and five assists in five games after missing the previous eight contests because of a groin strain.
--RW Teemu Selanne has two assists and finished the first half of the season leading the Ducks with 41 points. Selanne is third in goals with 14 and is on a tear with 19 points in his last 18 games and 26 over his last 25.
--LW Niklas Hagman has emerged as a nice secondary scorer for the Ducks. Hagman has assists in each of his last three games and 11 points overall in his 23 games with the club since being claimed off waivers on Nov. 14.
--LW Matt Beleskey scored his first goal of the season. It had been a long time coming -- Beleskey last found the net on Jan. 15, 2011 at Phoenix. The winger has seven points in 36 games.
--RW Devante Smith-Pelly is back in Anaheim to do his rehab after breaking a bone in his left foot on Dec. 26 while playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. Smith-Pelly was injured while blocking a shot and is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks.
--RW George Parros missed his third consecutive game because of a groin injury. Parros, who missed 13 games earlier this season because of a detached retina, has played in just one of the last six games either because of injury or because he was a healthy scratch. He is day-to-day.
--G Jonas Hiller missed his first game of the season because of a lower-body injury suffered Sunday night against Columbus while making a save. Hiller had played in 35 of the Ducks' 40 contests before Tuesday. He is expected to join the team on its three-game trip to western Canada and is day to day.
--Francois Beauchemin, Cam Fowler
--Luca Sbisa, Lubomir Visnovsky
--Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank
--LW Bobby Ryan, C Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry
--LW Niklas Hagman, C Saku Koivu, RW Teemu Selanne
--LW Jason Blake, C Nick Bonino, RW Andrew Cogliano
--LW Matt Beleskey, C Rod Pelley, RW Kyle Palmieri