Ducks 4, Dallas 2.

After stumbling to one of their worst starts to a season in recent memory, the Ducks have emerged to win six straight.

One reason for the quick turnaround has to be the emergence of secondary scoring.

Second-line center Saku Koivu extended his point streak to a season-high five games with the game’s first goal, on a redirect of a centering feed by Teemu Selanne. Bobby Ryan scored the Ducks’ final two goals to give him seven on the season. Ryan Getzlaf’s second-period goal — off a beautiful no-look pass from Corey Perry — was his seventh this year. All four players — Ryan, Getzlaf, Koivu and Selanne — are all on pace to score more than 30 goals this season.

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Lilja gets his visa, Sbisa sent to Syracuse.

Defenseman Andreas Lilja has received his visa and was added to the Ducks’ active roster Saturday. To make room for the 35-year-old veteran, who signed last weekend but had his visa renewal delayed, the Ducks assigned defenseman Luca Sbisa to AHL affiliate Syracuse.

The 20-year-old Sbisa was a healthy scratch in three of the Ducks’ five games this season and averaged only 12:22 in the two games he played. After spending all but the first eight games of last season in the Western Hockey League, a well-built Sbisa arrived at training camp hoping to play an entire season in Anaheim. That dream will have to wait another season.

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Sutton has surgery, out 6-8 weeks.

Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton had surgery to repair a fractured right thumb this morning. The surgery was performed at the Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles by hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin. Sutton is expected to return to action in approximately 6-8 weeks, which projects to the last week of November or the first week of December.

The 6-foot-6 veteran was slotted as a shutdown defenseman before he broke the thumb in a fight [video below] with former Duck Ruslan Salei on opening night in Detroit. Another 35-year-old defenseman, Andreas Lilja, signed with the Ducks this weekend and is the logical choice to eat Sutton’s minutes.

Report: Ducks sign Andreas Lilja. Update.

A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.

A report on the Swedish website HockeyExpressen.se indicates that the 35-year-old Lilja will sign with the Ducks. Anaheim lost veteran defenseman Andy Sutton to injury in Friday’s regular-season opener in Detroit, a 4-0 loss. Brett Festerling was summoned from the AHL prior to Saturday’s game in Nashville, a 4-1 loss.

Sutton’s thumb fracture left the Ducks without two of their key blue line additions; Toni Lydman is still out following an acute episode double vision. Lilja, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract since he was cut in training camp by the San Jose Sharks – after he flew with the team to Europe.

Lilja is a defensive-minded defenseman who has played the last five seasons with the Red Wings. In 478 career games, he has 15 goals, 74 points and 501 penalty minutes.

The website mlive.com reported that Lilja’s visa was set to expire today.

3:20 p.m. update
: Lilja will sign a one-year contract with the Ducks, but agent Todd Diamond relays that the defenseman might not be able to suit up tomorrow in St. Louis. Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, which will delay Lilja’s ability to renew the P-1 (work) visa.

As a side note, Diamond said that Lilja was never offered – nor did he reject – a contract from the Red Wings, contrary to the mlive.com report.

Sutton breaks thumb, Festerling up.

Andy Sutton broke his thumb in a second-period fight Friday against the Detroit Red Wings’ Ruslan Salei. Sutton did not return for the third period. No timetable for his return was immediately available, pending further evaluation.

Reduced to six healthy defensemen for tonight’s game against Nashville, the Ducks recalled Brett Festerling from American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse. Festerling, who played 42 games for the Ducks last season, was among the second-to-last round of training camp cuts.

Luca Sbisa, a healthy scratch last night, also figures to have a crack at the lineup.

Detroit 4, Ducks 0.

The Ducks went to Detroit and lost. Nothing new under the sun on opening night of a new season; the Wings are now 27-3-3-0 all-time at home against the Ducks.

Second-year goalie Jimmy Howard continued the tradition with a 21-save shutout, helped immensely by his team’s six power-play opportunities to the Ducks’ one. The disparity in penalties (the Ducks took 12 to the Wings’ 6) was a big factor in Detroit’s 43-21 lead in shots on goal.

Yet neither Johan Franzen, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk or Dan Cleary scored on the power play against Jonas Hiller (39 saves). Detroit did all its damage at even strength, and all within the game’s first 37 minutes.

In an otherwise forgettable debut, the Ducks can take pride in their perfect penalty kill as well as a solid regular-season debut by Cam Fowler, who blocked five shots in 20:48 and looked poised with the puck.

Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch, but he might be needed tomorrow in Nashville; defenseman Andy Sutton did not play in the third period.

More notes from Day 3.

A few notes from Day 3 of camp, easily the most interesting of the three days so far:

The politically correct locker-room term is “chippiness.” Call it what you will – 6-foot-6 defenseman Andy Sutton had to be separated from a couple teammates after making contact in open ice, and Corey Perry punched Dan Sexton in the head during the scrimmage.

Sexton upended Perry along the boards during the first 30-minute scrimmage session, sending both tumbling to the ice. Perry didn’t like it, and jabbed his teammate’s helmet. He also poked his stick into Sexton’s back as the two reached the bench. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Sexton didn’t retaliate either time. Said head coach Randy Carlyle, “guys get tired playing and practicing against one another. We always call the third day of training camp the ‘hump day.’ … They get a little grouchy playing against one another.”

Teemu Selanne scored past two goalies with one shot. How? The black team was in the middle of a goalie change (Igor Bobkov was about to be replaced by Curtis McElhinney) when Selanne put a backhand on net. The two netminders exchanged an awkward look, sort of like that “I got it/you take it” look between two infielders deciding who should catch a pop fly. No one touched the puck as it slid into the empty net.

Selanne scored another goal, and Maxime Macenauer, Lubomir Visnovsky, Josh Green, Danny Syvret, Rob Bordson, Corey Perry and Sexton all scored one each in the White Team’s 7-2 win.

Sutton steps in.

Another quick, slightly late dispatch from the vacation trail: Free agent defenseman Andy Sutton has been added on a two-year, $4.25 million contract.

Sutton immediately addresses the Ducks’ need for a veteran top-four defenseman, although he isn’t the point producer many anticipated – namely, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tomas Kaberle. Sutton is another shot-blocker, to the tune of 204 last season — second-most in the NHL. While averaging 20:24 of ice time, the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder was also eighth among all defenseman with 197 hits. Sutton chipped in with five goals and eight assists in a regular season split between the Islanders and Senators.

Said Anaheim GM Bob Murray (via the team’s official website): “We inquired about him at the deadline last year. I just couldn’t make
things work in time to get him. … I talked to Pat Morris (his agent) very early about Andy. We waited a
little while and talked again. I had to see where the whole (James) Wisniewski
thing went and we had to let that play out a little bit. I think Andy is
very excited about playing with our group and we’re very excited to
have him. We were all patient and let things unfold.”

While regarded as one of the top defensive-minded defensemen still on the market, there are concerns about Sutton’s giveaways (he had 64 in 72 games last season) and durability. The 35-year-old missed eight games last season with a groin injury, and has broken the 70-game plateau only twice in his career.

The Ducks’ other main blue-line acquisition, Toni Lydman, is also a giveaway liability — he had 49 in 67 games last season. But he’s also a good shot-blocker who piles up hits. If nothing else the Ducks will enter the season with two proven defensemen (Sutton and Lydman) who are tough to play against in the defensive zone. Brett Festerling and Sheldon Brookbank are close to being mentioned in that group, as well.

The question now is, who will move the puck and take the shot from the blue line? If they don’t make a play for Kaberle, the Ducks may turn to rookies Luca Sbisa, Cam Fowler or even Danny Syvret to help replace the offensive contributions of retired captain Scott Niedermayer. Aside from workhorse Lubomir Visnovsky, who averaged 5:09 power-play time per game last season, no current Ducks defenseman averaged more than 0:55 per game on the power play last season (that was Lydman).

There is also the question of how quickly the defense will come together as a unit. That was among the Ducks’ main issues early last season, when they were trying to integrate three new defensemen (Nick Boynton, Sbisa and Steve Eminger). This year, only Brookbank will come into training camp having had a full NHL season under head coach Randy Carlyle’s system; Sutton, Lydman, Fowler and Syvret will have had no in-game experience at all.

This has not dampened Sutton’s optimism.

“It’s a great fit,” he said. “It’s
a team that can go all the way, which was important to me. It’s a
mature team, a veteran team and the sky is the limit with this club.”