Ducks’ first order of business? Defense.

After the Ducks’ on-the-fly rebuild over the summer, it led many to believe that the low-scoring victories that marked the team’s 2007 Stanley Cup run were a thing of the past. Certainly losing marquee defensemen Chris Pronger and Franois Beauchemin, and adding Joffrey Lupul and Saku Koivu, would tilt the team’s balance in favor of the offense.

Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Kings in the Ducks’ preseason finale only reinforced that hypothesis.

With the exception of defenseman Nick Boynton, a healthy scratch, the Ducks rolled out a lineup likely to resemble one they’ll use in the regular season. Still, against a Kings team missing regulars Justin Williams, Jarrett Stoll, Sean O’Donnell and Drew Doughty, Anaheim allowed four goals, all with the Kings holding a man advantage.

Is it too early to call it a trend?

“We’ll see,” goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. “We’re definitely going to focus on defense first. It’s always been like this with (head coach) Randy (Carlyle). He’s been focusing on that in training camp. There’s one thing I know, we’re going to score a lot of goals.”

It was a great pace if they can keep it up:Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were on the ice for four of the Ducks’ goals, and Bobby Ryan finished with two goals and an assist. Joffrey Lupul scored the fifth, the beneficiary of tic-tac-toe passing from linemates Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, during a 3-on-1 rush in the third period.

It was the ideal result of an off-season designed to give the Ducks two credible scoring lines. From a more technical standpoint, Carlyle was pleased with their ability to hold the zone by cycling the puck.

“That style of hockey is what we have to brand ourselves to,” he said. “Tonight we showed at times we could do it, but other times we didn’t.One area of improvement is special teams.

“They had opportunities to clear the puck and we should have got the puck down the ice.”

The good news? There’s plenty of time to work out the kinks: The Ducks won’t play again until Saturday, when they open the regular season at home against the San Jose Sharks. Carlyle said he’ll give the team a day off Monday and return to practice Tuesday.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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