Ducks: Time for some home cookin'


ANAHEIM -- All's well back at the Honda Center.

The morning after World Wrestling Entertainment invaded the arena, the Ducks returned to practice Tuesday and found everything still in order. While away for four games, the most notable changes came to their mix of veterans and young guns who are quickly making a name for themselves.

Ryan Getzlaf was back in his familiar role centering the top line. Getzlaf, who has combined for more points than any player on the Ducks the last three seasons, missed 14 games after getting struck in the forehead with a puck at Phoenix on Dec. 28, causing fractures to his nasal passages. Anaheim, fifth in the Western Conference heading into Tuesday, won 10 games while he was out and four straight since he has returned.

When he skates onto the ice Wednesday against visiting Washington, it will be his first home game since Dec. 12.

"It’s always nice to come home and be in a comfortable setting, in your own locker room and own building, in front of your own fans," Getzlaf said. "We have to use that to our advantage."

In the last week, the club also reacquired veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin from Toronto in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Jack Gardiner and a 2013 draft pick. Beauchemin was part of the blue-line crew that helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007.

He has played two games since re-joining the Ducks and his contributions have been limited. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was rather straightforward in his evaluation of the 30-year-old defenseman.

"He’s a little more rigid than I remember ... straight-legged in some situations," Carlyle said. "Shooting the puck, I think he has lost some of his confidence so we’d like to rebuild that."

Beauchemin said he expected to see improvement as well.

"Personally, I felt good," he said. "It’s only going to get better as time moves on."

Though he’s been with the team since late November, rookie center Brandon McMillan has looked like a different player lately, scoring a goal in each of the last three games and producing a point in four straight. McMillan has bounced around positions and lines since joining the team, even centering the top line for a stretch while Getzlaf was out, but said he’s settled into his third line role with Dan Sexton and Maxim Lapierre.

"I’m feeling a lot better now," said the 20-year-old native of British Columbia. "I’m getting more confidence everyday."

The veteran forwards have taken notice.

"Brandon McMillan has been unbelievable," said Teemu Selanne, who scored his 100th winning goal Sunday in a 4-0 win in Edmonton. "It’s great to see when you’re a young guy that has the speed, the work ethic, all the skills. ... He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now."

The Ducks will next face a Washington team that’s hungry for a win after losing three straight. The Capitals will need to be at their best against a streaking Anaheim team that has scored first or led after the first period in nine of its last 10 games.

"The team is playing with a lot of confidence and that’s what it takes," said the 40-year-old Selanne. "Right now, we have a little something going and we have to keep pushing forward."