Sellers going strong

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

If anything, the Anaheim Ducks should have gone in the other direction.

Usually teams making playoff runs add players at the trade deadline, not subtract.

Even though the Ducks were sellers at the deadline, moving four regulars for essentially future prospects, they were able to turn things around and were in the thick of the playoff race rolling into Edmonton last night.

"I think our team got into a little bit of a lull with the same guys and the same situation for a couple of years," said Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. "When you get in that situation, it's tough to get motivated every day. We got into a bit of a lull and that's our fault, not anybody else's fault.

"Then when you get the big shakeup at the deadline, you're able to bring that energy, there are a couple of new faces around to challenge guys for spots. We didn't necessarily downgrade, we made some good trades for the future."

Shortly after the deadline, the Ducks put together a winning streak and, after last night's win, have now won seven of their last eight games.

Their only loss came to the Oilers last week - a 5-3 defeat despite outshooting the boys in Copper and Blue 54-20.

"It's weird when those things happen," said Ducks rookie Bobby Ryan. "When you lose three Stanley Cup champions from your roster, you don't expect things to get better.

"But the guys that did come in have stepped up, played well and really contributed a lot. That's not to say that the guys that left didn't, but I think the new guys brought a breath of fresh air and a new mindset going into the games. And we're excited for the rest of our games."

The Ducks made four separate deals at the deadline, moving four roster players and two prospects. Among those players shipped out were Travis Moen, Kent Huskins and Samuel Pahlsson, who were members of the 2007 Ducks Stanley Cup championship team.

"We've had lots of turnover in the group," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "We've had lots of change. We have five rookies in our lineup. Some people fail to realize the amount of transactions that we've had and the amount of people that we've had move in and out."

One constant for the Ducks has been cornerstones Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who, along with Ryan, are providing the bulk of the offence for their club.

Getzlaf leads the team in scoring with 81 points, while Perry has 65 and Ryan is the most potent rookie scorer in the league with 26 goals. In the three previous games with the Oilers, prior to last night, the trio had combined for 10 points.

"We're a line that likes to play low and play with the puck," Getzlaf said. "We're a puck-control line that is not going to give it away - you definitely have to take it from us.

"That's our goal when we're on the ice, take control of it down low and take it to the net hard."

At six-foot-four, 216-pounds, Getzlaf is the catalyst for the Ducks' physical style of play. He's leading the push towards the playoffs with 11 points in 10 games heading into last night.

"He's a big man that protects the puck," Carlyle said. "He's got skill, he's strong and he can find people. He's played that cycling game with that line for a long time. We feel we have to establish that grinding game, that down-low game, to be effective."

So really, the Ducks have the best of all worlds. They are now playing their best hockey of the year, but also look to be well set up for the future.

"We came into the situation where we felt we had an elite team coming into the season," Getzlaf said. "We still do think that, but we've had a lot of ups and downs and suffered some key injuries. Now we're playing a lot better and hopefully we can keep that going."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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