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Ducks’ Eakins explains decision to sit Regenda against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. — The timing seemed curious.

Ducks rookie forward Pavol Regenda was a healthy scratch for the first time in his short turn in the NHL, sitting out the Ducks’ game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Those things are bound to happen in the early days of a fledgling career but it came one night after Regenda had his first two NHL points, two assists, against the New York Rangers.

“It’s one of these things,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “This young man has not played any hockey in North America. He’s come in – had a very good camp. Exhibition games are far different than NHL games. He got on the scoreboard last night.”

There is a world of difference between the pace of play from the preseason to the start of the season. And it picks up as the months of the season tick off the calendar.

“Things are happening extremely fast,” Eakins said. “We want to make sure we’re bringing him along with the right process and we thought it was a night to give him a rest, especially with a back-to-back game.”

ZEGRAS VS. HUGHES

It was the second meeting between the Ducks’ Trevor Zegras and the Devils’ Jack Hughes – good friends and one-time teammates in USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. Neither got on the scoresheet the first time they faced off as NHLers – the Devils defeated the Ducks, 2-1, in a shootout here last season (March 12.)

Hughes was the far more noticeable of the two in this particular meeting, recording an assist in the first period, then adding another assist in the third period. He came close to scoring on a breakaway with 3:48 left in the second period, but he was denied by Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz. Zegras had no shots on goal in 21-plus minutes of action.

“I was definitely guilty a couple of times – maybe on the other team’s blue line – of not getting it deep,” Zegras said. “That’s definitely something I’m a bit frustrated in. I feel like I did let the guys down a little bit in that regard. But like I said, you move on.

“It’s a long season. You take what you can from these games and try to get better. I definitely felt like every time I got the puck, there were at least two or three black jerseys all over me.”

As for playing against Hughes, that is old hat now, apparently. Zegras agreed that he has moved on from that narrative and displayed his usual wit.

“Move on, exactly,” he said. “I see that guy enough. I don’t too giddy when I see him on the ice that’s for sure.”

QUOTABLE

Eakins, on relying on the veterans to keep things from snowballing: “We have to. That’s part of your duty as a vet to help the others around and calm the process down when you feel pushes like that. You’re going to get that in this league. That’s when you need to stay tight and work together.”

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