(AP) — The Stanley Cup champions are getting lots of help from their young newcomers.
Just two nights after defenseman Kent Huskins scored his first NHL goal in a win over Detroit, forwards Petteri Wirtanen and Drew Miller both netted their first Wednesday to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-1 victory against the Nashville Predators.
"It’s nice to see young players score their first goal," coach Randy Carlyle said. "It’s a tribute to the scouting staff and our management that we’re able to find these young players to come in and make a contribution."
Wirtanen, the last player cut by Anaheim after training camp, got the go-ahead goal 4:47 into the third period. It made him the ninth player in club history to score in his NHL debut.
"It was tough waking up this morning and trying to take this as a normal game," said Wirtanen, a sixth-round draft pick by the Ducks in 2006. "The first couple of shifts I was just trying to get my legs going. Then the scoring chance came and I put it in. It felt awesome."
Wirtanen slid the puck under goalie Chris Mason’s stick after reaching out to tip teammate George Parros’ centering pass away from defenseman Greg de Vries.
"My first thought was to shoot it right away, but it was still bouncing," Wirtanen said. "So I had to wait and go wide and try to squeeze it in on the short side."
Miller, playing in his third regular-season NHL game, made it 3-1 on a breakaway with 7:37 remaining. He got the puck from Andy McDonald just inside the Anaheim blue line, made a slick move away from defenseman Dan Hamhuis and raced the length of the ice before putting a short wrist shot between Mason’s legs.
"I was able to get the puck past their defenseman and tried to get some speed going," Miller said. "Mason showed me the five-hole and I took it. It’s just nice to get that first one out of the way."
Wirtanen was recalled by Anaheim from the AHL’s Portland Pirates on Monday. He had appeared in five games with the Pirates this season. Miller was recalled on Oct. 6 after skating in Portland’s season opener a night earlier.