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When it comes to lines, Ducks don’t break up shutdown unit that isn’t broken

By in Press Enterprise on January 3, 2018

By Eric Stephens

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Sometimes, the best thing a coach can do is leave well enough alone.

Like others in his profession, Randy Carlyle will do his share of tinkering with his four forward lines. A player will move up to the top line or head downward. Another might shift from one wing to the other. And someone could be brought into the lineup or taken out. All come with the coach’s varied reasons.

One thing Carlyle didn’t do when he took over for his second turn leading the Ducks is break up a unit that his predecessor, Bruce Boudreau, put together in the fall of 2014. As they entered Tuesday’s game against Vancouver, Ryan Kesler was centering linemates Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg.

Save for the games where one wasn’t available – well, Cogliano has been every day of his NHL career – the three have become and remained the Ducks’ go-to top defensive group. It is one of the league’s best. And in an age when coaches focus more on forward pairs, the trio has remained a constant.

“Usually you have two guys who stay together,” Cogliano said. “I think all three of us play a similar game, which I think really helps the situation. It helps us as a line. I feel like when we got Kes back, it adds another element with our forechecking presence.

“He’s good defensively, which limits our time in our zone. He’s good on faceoffs, which we start the puck with on a lot of shifts. So he adds elements that, unfortunately for other guys they might not have.

“It makes a difference with our game.”

Carlyle started putting the three back together after Kesler made his season debut last week against Vegas. Cogliano said there’s a comfort level that’s existed since they were first united.

“We wanted to be […]    

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