Opportunity Knocks

Thursday, 01.03.2008 / 7:32 PM / Features
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Opportunity Knocks

By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com

While shuttling up and down between Anaheim and Portland all season, Ryan Carter has sought a big opportunity with the club and his moment to shine came on Wednesday night.

Ryan Carter

With Samuel Pahlsson continuing to nurse an injured abdomen, minutes have been available at the center position on the checking line between Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen. After Todd Marchant spent the majority of time in the position during the team’s recent road trip through Western Canada, Carter got his chance on the line last night in the Ducks’ return to Honda Center. The rookie flourished, earning the third star of the game with stellar defensive play in a career-high 13:17 of time on the ice in the Ducks’ 2-1 victory over Columbus.

“With injury comes opportunity for other players. Especially as a young player, you need to take advantage of your opportunity,” Carter said on Thursday. “My ice time more than doubled last night (from 6:23 at Vancouver on Dec. 30). I think I needed to prove something to myself, the coaching staff and management. Hopefully, I did that.”

Carter’s play definitely has caught the attention of Ducks head coach, Randy Carlyle.

“Ryan Carter stepped in and is playing very well for us in the sense of our expectations,” Carlyle said. “He’s got to go in and play hard minutes, be strong in the faceoff circle and win some battles.”

Much like the player he’s filling in for, one of Carter’s better attributes on Wednesday night was winning faceoffs, as he secured the puck for the Ducks on 10 of 13 chances in the circle against the Blue Jackets. Playing well on the draws was particularly pleasing for Carter, who worked hard in the offseason to improve that area of his game.

“Last year I played center in Portland the whole year and my faceoffs weren’t as strong,” Carter said. “In the offseason, I worked on my faceoffs. I think more than anything it helped with confidence in the circle.”

Although he never appeared in a regular season game for the Ducks last season, Carter earned a championship ring and his name on the Stanley Cup by appearing in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against Ottawa, along with three games versus Detroit in the Western Conference Final. Carter says the experience under the bright lights of the NHL postseason helped immensely.

“Having played a couple of games in the playoffs helped,” Carter said. “As a young player, the more you get time around here and get comfortable, the better it is for you.”

This year Carter earned the right to play on the third line by showing good defensive ability, including select minutes on the penalty kill in the six games he played prior to Wednesday since returning to the team for a third stint this season on Dec. 17.

“The center on the third line is a shutdown position. It’s more defensive,” Carter said. “When you get out there on the penalty kill, you get a chance to prove that defensively you’re strong and you can be trusted out there in those situations. I think the kill, being able to block shots and be physical down low helped me out.”

Carlyle enjoys seeing the position competition within the Ducks created by the new-found success of players like Carter.

“It puts pressure on other players. We want players pushing one another for positions in the lineup,” Carlyle said.  “I want players to step up and make our decisions difficult because those are good decisions.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48


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