Ducks activiate Getzlaf, send Voros to Syracuse.

Aaron Voros was deemed the odd man out today when the Ducks activated captain Ryan Getzlaf from injured reserve as expected. Voros, who cleared waivers this morning, was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

The 29-year-old hasn’t played a game in the minors since 2007-08 when the Minnesota Wild sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for 12 games.

Voros missed nearly two months with a broken orbital bone, suffered in a Dec. 8 fight at Vancouver. He returned to play one game with the Ducks on Feb. 2 against San Jose, going scoreless.

Voros’ demotion means the Ducks will carry nine defensemen and the minimum 12 forwards into tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin, acquired earlier today from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Joffrey Lupul, will be scratched as he is en route to Western Canada.

Five things about the Joffrey Lupul-Francois Beauchemin trade.

The Ducks will be posting a complete transcript of this morning’s conference calls with Francois Beauchemin and general manager Bob Murray soon.

In the meantime, here are five things you need to know:

1. Beauchemin isn’t playing tonight. He’s flying to Vancouver today, then will hopefully practice with the Ducks tomorrow and play Friday night in Calgary, Murray said.

2. Murray said he determined the Ducks were a playoff team when they rallied in January with captain Ryan Getzlaf on injured reserve. Then he determined the team needed the most help on defense now – but not down the road, with youngsters Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa and prospect Nick Schultz developing well. That made Jake Gardiner expendable. “We gave them a good young prospect here,” Murray said. “We feel we’re really deep at that position of prospects, on defense.”

3. Including Beauchemin, the Ducks have nine defensemen. Asked if another move was in the works, Murray said “nothing’s imminent.” So it looks like there will be eight defensemen and 13 forwards available tonight in Vancouver. Left wing Aaron Voros, who cleared waivers this morning, might be back in the lineup.

4. Beauchemin admitted he “didn’t really like it” when the Ducks didn’t match the Maple Leafs’ offer to him in free agency in June 2009. But he liked Anaheim enough to put the Ducks on his list of 12 teams he would accept a trade to. “Bob (Murray) was the guy who mentioned to (Brian Burke) in that (Sergei) Fedorov deal, to include me in it, because he saw me playing the American League five, six years ago,” Beauchemin said, “and our relationship hasn’t really changed.”

5. Lupul said he has “a lot to prove” to a Ducks team that “just let me go after 20 games.” He’ll have to wait – the two teams won’t play each other again this season.

Ducks re-acquire Beauchemin for Lupul, Gardiner.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin is coming back to Anaheim in a major deal announced Wednesday that will send forward Joffrey Lupul, defenseman prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2013 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Beauchemin, who played for the Ducks from 2006-09, has two goals, 12 points and 16 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Maple Leafs this season. An alternate captain in Toronto, the 30-year-old Beauchemin was second only to Dion Phaneuf in ice time (23:45) and was leading the team in blocked shots (131). In addition to Beauchemin’s physical play, the Ducks get a more reliable puck-mover from the back end than they currently possess outside Lubomir Visnovsky and Cam Fowler.

Lupul had scored five goals and 13 points in 26 games since returning from a blood infection in December. The 27-year-old winger was well off his career point production, relegated to a third-line role and second-unit power play duty while averaging just 13:13 per game.

Gardiner, 20, is a former first-round draft pick (17th overall, 2008) playing for the University of Wisconsin. In 30 games this season, he has seven goals, 30 points and a plus-20 rating.

The trade will allow the Ducks to save $450,000 toward the salary cap this year and next. In terms of actual salary, Beauchemin represents a net savings this year ($4.25 to $3.55 million) and next year ($4.25 to $3.8 million) and comes off the books in 2012, a year ahead of Lupul.

More details to follow …

San Jose 4, Ducks 3.

The first 11 minutes, 15 seconds of hockey at Honda Center rendered the next 48:45 moot. Almost.

At least, it made for fairly easy writing on deadline. Seeing Jonas Hiller allow three goals in that early span, before heading to the bench, was a rare sight. Just as rare were the nature of the goals – each a little less excusable than the one before. Hiller said he didn’t see Jason Demers’ shot from just inside the blue line until it was in the back of the net. A few seconds later, Hiller was on the bench, and the Western Conference standings were guaranteed to be a gnarled mess.

The Sharks (27-19-6) and Ducks (28-21-4) each have 60 points now, cosmetically tied for fifth place in the standings but San Jose has the advantage of having one game in hand. Clearly, playing the Phoenix Coyotes the night before was a tremendous advantage, as the Sharks’ quick start was too much for Hiller and the Ducks.

“I think when they scored on the first shift it should have been a wake-up call,” said Bobby Ryan, who had one of the Ducks’ three goals. “We let them build off it. I don’t think you can discredit Jonas. He stood in there and some of the goals were tough to see, especially the third one. You don’t see it much.”

Cam Fowler and Joffrey Lupul also scored goals, with Lupul netting his first since Dec. 28. Curtis McElhinney made 17 saves – 10 more than Hiller – allowing only a power-play putback by Ryane Clowe at 15:39 of the second period.

More details in tomorrow’s editions. A few more notes:
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Ducks 7, St. Louis 4.

As much two games can be mirror images of one another, the Ducks and the St. Louis Blues certainly flipped roles in their second meeting of the season Wednesday.

Anaheim exacted revenge for a 5-1 loss in St. Louis on Oct. 11 – what seems like a long three months ago after they completed a 5-1 homestand with Wednesday’s win. Bobby Ryan notched his third career hat trick, his second of the season, and Jason Blake, Lubomir Visnovsky, Corey Perry and Brandon McMillan also added goals for the Ducks.

“We’ve realized that on a homestand you really need to come out and put your best foot forward,” Ryan said. “The month of December was a little bit ugly. We’ve gone on streaks all year long. We need to come out at home, establish the forecheck and our identity.”

No one can speak to streaks better than Ryan, who has six goals in his last three games after scoring just one in the previous 10. All three of his goals came within spitting distance of the crease – and off fine primary assists from Joffrey Lupul, Perry and Andreas Lilja – which marked a significant evolution in Ryan’s transition from wing to center.

“It didn’t come as smoothly as we all liked, but we persevered and he has persevered,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Hopefully that is just a springboard for him to continue on with the offensive threat that he is.”

In that Oct. 11 game, their third of the season, the Ducks were outshot 53-14 and Ryan collected 17 penalty minutes (and no goals). Call Wednesday’s outing a measuring-stick game – a measurement against the Ducks’ former selves.

Jonas Hiller got burned by lapses on defense and allowed four goals on 34 shots, seeing his shutout streak end at 178:34. The Ducks took advantage of an off-night for Ty Conklin, who stopped just 17 of 24.

A few more notes:

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Ducks 1, Sharks 0.

They were exhorting Bobby Ryan to shoot from every section of Honda Center except for two – sections 408 and 409, which were occupied by enough teal-clad Sharks fans to have filled six buses on a round-trip tour to and from San Jose.

Ryan dangled the puck on his stick from the left wall, through the left faceoff circle, through the slot, and through the right circle, before he finally released a shot at 14:29 of the second period. It was worth the wait for Ryan and for the fans (except those sitting in sections 408 and 409). The wrist shot sneaked through a scrum including Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, Ducks forwards Joffrey Lupul and Brandon McMillan, and of course goalie Antti Niemi, for the only goal on Sunday.

“Their defenseman (Marc-Edouard Vlasic) made a good play and followed me,” Ryan said. “I kept trying to wait for him to stop and he never did. So I finally hit the brakes. There was so much traffic in front, Lupul and McMillan were creating a stir, so I just tried to put it through the traffic. They haven’t found holes in the past month. I’m glad they are finding them right now and I’ll try to continue to do it.”

Ryan has scored four goals in the last five games, all in the absence of injured center Ryan Getzlaf. Before that he had gone seven games without a goal. Ryan’s 18th goal of the season puts him three behind Corey Perry for the team lead.

It also spoiled an otherwise perfect night for Niemi, who had the unfortunate task of being opposed by Jonas Hiller, who recorded his second shutout in as many games.

Plenty more on him in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few notes that won’t make the paper:
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Ducks 3, Coyotes 1.

The tone was set early, when Jonas Hiller withstood an early barrage of shots, and continued long after Ryan Getzlaf left the ice spilling blood from his forehead.

There were some ugly moments to be sure, but the Ducks had to be pleased with a 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale. Goals by Luca Sbisa (his first in the NHL), Joffrey Lupul and Corey Perry completed the scoring in the first period.

“I’m sure it probably wasn’t our best start, but we were able to brush
it off and found a way to score,” Hiller said after an outstanding 31-save effort, “and at the end everyone was playing well
and sacrificing for the team.”
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New York Islanders 3, Ducks 2. Updated with postgame reaction.

A one-minute, 39-second span of the first period gave the Islanders all their goals, knocked Curtis McElhinney out of the game, and ended the Ducks’ three-game winning streak all in one fell swoop.

The Islanders ended a six-game losing streak and won just their second game since Oct. 23, a span during which they are now 2-17-3. They did it on first-period goals by P.A. Parenteau (15:06), Blake Comeau (15:34) and Matt Moulson (16:45), the last of which spelled the end of Curtis McElhinney’s night.

“Being down 3-0 after 10, 15 minutes, it’s a tough hole to climb out of – doesn’t matter who you play,” Ducks winger Corey Perry said. “Those are things that we can’t let happen. Last night was a big, emotional win for us, playing Washington. We came in here and we didn’t play hockey until 15 minutes (in).”
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Ducks 2, Washington 1, OT.

The Ducks weathered a slow start in the nation’s capital en route to their third straight win, getting a goal from captain Ryan Getzlaf with 56.6 seconds left in overtime.

Joffrey Lupul scored in the second period for the Ducks (17-3-4) and Brooks Laich scored in the first period for Washington (18-11-4), which has lost seven in a row.

After outshooting the Ducks 26-14 through two periods, the Capitals seemed out of gas in the third. Anaheim controlled the play, leading 7-5 in shots on goal, but couldn’t score on Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 22 saves.

In overtime, Jonas Hiller was only called upon to make one of his 31 saves. The Ducks looked like they were on the way to their third shootout in their last four games until Getzlaf carried the puck up the left wing, put on the brakes near the goal line, spun back around and used Scott Hannan as a screen for his game-winning wrist shot from 11 feet out.

Teemu Selanne made the trip but decided to rest his sore groin. Lupul took his spot on the second line, but got his goal on the first power play, flinging a puck that deflected to him underneath Varlamov at the 12:47 mark. It was Lupul’s second goal of the season in his sixth game back.

Saku Koivu centered the Ducks’ second line and played little more than 20 minutes after missing the last game with the flu. Selanne, center Kyle Chipchura and defenseman Paul Mara were the Ducks’ scratches.

Vancouver 5, Ducks 4.

Curtis McElhinney’s misfortune was just the opening the Vancouver Canucks needed.

In the midst of a stellar performance, McElhinney was knocked out when he was struck in the head by Christian Ehrhoff’s shot in the third period. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Sedin scored when the puck bounced right to him off McElhinney’s mask, Ryan Kesler scored on Jonas Hiller in the final minute to tie the game at 4, and Jeff Tambellini potted the game-winner in the shootout.

The surprising turn of events left the Ducks with a tough shootout loss in a game they led 4-2 with eight minutes left in the third period. It also left them without their backup goaltender, at least temporarily, heading into Friday’s game in Anaheim against the Calgary Flames.

McElhinney stopped 24 of 27 and was in line for his third win of the season after goals by Corey Perry, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler.

Kesler’s third-effort goal, with Vancouver skating 6-on-5 with 22 seconds left in the third period, was the only goal Hiller allowed on 13 shots in 12:18 of relief. Tambellini scored the only goal for either side in the shootout.

Lupul’s goal was his first of the season in his third game back. It came one year to the day after his last NHL goal on Dec. 8, 2009, in what proved to be Lupul’s last game of the season.

Todd Marchant had a pair of assists, and Selanne, Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky and Paul Mara had one helper each.
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