Until the Anaheim Ducks get back to full strength, they’re counting on Adam Henrique to play a major role for his injury-plagued new team.
Henrique has been quite capable of shouldering that burden so far, and now he finally has a victory and a goal or two to show for his efforts.
Henrique scored his first two goals for the Ducks in his home debut, and Ryan Miller made 29 saves for his first shutout for Anaheim in a 3-0 victory over the slumping Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
Ondrej Kase also scored, and Henrique added an empty-netter to his second-period opening goal in the Ducks’ first victory since they acquired Henrique in a trade with New Jersey a week ago. The veteran has a point in all four games for his new team while centring the top line for the Ducks, who have played most of the season without centres Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler while dealing with major injuries for several supporting players.
“I didn’t even realize how many guys were injured,” Henrique said. “But that’s certainly an exciting part of it, to think about what we can do when we’re healthy.”
Henrique has five points in four games for the Ducks, who gave a fundamentally sound effort to open a three-game homestand one night after ending a six-game trip with a shootout loss at Vegas.
Henrique thought he had scored his first goal for Anaheim last Saturday at Nashville, but a scoring change two days later took it away.
No scorekeeper could deny Henrique when he beat Craig Anderson with a sharp one-timer after Rickard Rakell put the puck in the slot.
“It’s actually been a pretty good transition,” said Henrique, who has combined with right wing Corey Perry for nine points in their four games together. “The guys have been great on and off the ice, talking to me a lot. As far as the systems, I felt pretty good jumping in and playing right away. It’s been great so far.”
Kase got his career-best sixth goal during the second period on an exceptional move in front. With Henrique and Kase filling the Sens’ net while Miller kept his net empty, the Ducks snapped their three-game losing streak.
Miller, the 37-year-old veteran signed by Anaheim last summer, posted his 40th career shutout with a confident performance. Although he hasn’t played regularly behind John Gibson, Miller remained unbeaten in regulation for his new team (3-0-4).
The Ducks played without key injured regulars Hampus Lindholm and Jakob Silfverberg, depleting the already shaky depth on a roster that leads the NHL in man-games lost to injury.
“We’ve got a few more guys to go, but the guys who are playing are pulling their weight and doing their job,” Miller said. “It’s good for our depth as we grind through the year.”
Anderson stopped 19 shots in the Senators’ ninth loss in 10 games. They’ve scored more than two goals in just one game during this skid, and they’ve been shut out in back-to-back games.
“You never know exactly what is causing it and what is going on,” captain Erik Karlsson said. “When things are not going your way, you try and look for answers that are not there. You try and get out of your comfort zone and do different things, but at the end of the day, you need to do the things you are good at, and I think that we are starting to get to that.”
Ottawa’s scoreless streak reached 138 minutes, 22 seconds.
“This is a tough one,” forward Zack Smith said. “For the most part, the work ethic was there. Offense was hard to come by. We believe in this group here. We’ve showed all through last year and the playoffs that we can score. Sometimes you’re guilty of overthinking.”