By Kyle Shohara
It’s been highly anticipated for months, and tonight it’s finally here. The Ducks begin the 2013-14 season with a road contest against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center (6:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket, AM 830).
Earlier today, the team announced it assigned winger Devante Smith-Pelly to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. Subsequently, forward Jakob Silfverberg was activated off injured reserve and is expected to play on the second line with Teemu Selanne and new acquisition Mathieu Perreault.
On Lindholm, head coach Bruce Boudreau said he wants the young defenseman “to watch a game,” to see how the speed, intensity and pace picks up in regular season play as opposed to preseason action.
Expected to fill Penner’s absence on the top line is young power forward Patrick Maroon, who is coming off a strong training camp and preseason.
“I just think you have to reward certain people for having good training camps and you have to make a point," Boudreau said of Penner. "If you don’t have a great training camp this isn’t just given to you, not everything’s given to you. So that was the case.
“In Dustin’s defense, the last 10 days he’s worked extremely hard. He’s not quite where he wants to be, but he’s getting closer, a lot closer than when he first came into camp.”
Added Boudreau, “At this stage, Maroon earned the first game."
Here are the expected line combinations for both teams:
Maroon - Getzlaf - Perry
Silfverberg - Perreault - Selanne
Cogliano - Koivu - Winnik
Beleskey - Bonino - Palmieri
Fowler - Beauchemin
Fistric - Lovejoy
Allen - Vatanen
O’Reilly - Duchene - Downie
Landeskog - Stastny - Tanguay
McGinn - MacKinnon - Parenteau
McLeod - Mitchell - Bordeleau
Hejda - Johnson
Barrie - Guenin
Benoit - Sarich
As a reminder, you can attend an official Ducks Watch Party tonight at Tilted Kilt in Orange (1625 W. Katella), and have a chance to win player autographed items.
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