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Antoine Vermette makes most of move to Ducks’ top line

By in Press Enterprise on January 2, 2018

By Eric Stephens

ANAHEIM — There were reasons for Antoine Vermette to smile Sunday after the Ducks’ 5-2 triumph against Arizona.

First among them was the win. It was his team’s fourth in five games. Had he gone without a point as he had in his previous eight contests, it wouldn’t have mattered much. Not when he has the bigger picture – a Stanley Cup – in mind.

But when someone gets used to being a consistent scorer over a 14-year career, the feeling of going game after game without can still get on the most team-first of players. Even when that career is more toward its final years.

So when he added the finishing touches with an empty-net goal Sunday, Vermette could feel good about breaking out of a dry spell.

“It’s nice,” Vermette said. “At the end of the day, you just want to contribute to the team’s success regardless of where you play or with who. You just want to chip in and have an impact as a player.

“If you look at the standings, you want to keep grabbing points and (Sunday) was a case where we needed those points. We had to push all the way through 60 minutes to get it. But it’s rewarding.”

The goal capped a three-point night for the 34-year-old forward, who made the most of Coach Randy Carlyle’s decision to move him up from the fourth line to left wing on the top line and shift Rickard Rakell to the right side of Ryan Getzlaf. Vermette and Getzlaf had assists on Rakell’s two goals.

Left wing isn’t an unfamiliar place. Even with extensive experience at center, Vermette has played at that position frequently at each of his NHL stops. He has done so at times in his two seasons with the Ducks.

“It’s fun,” said Vermette, who surpassed 1,000 games played […]    

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