Francois Beauchemin may have been an afterthought in the trade of six-time All-Star center Sergei Fedorov by the Mighty Ducks, but the young defenseman is making the team look as if it has uncovered a gem.
Beauchemin knocked the Tampa Bay Lightning off-stride with some timely hits and surprised the reigning Stanley Cup champions with his offense as he delivered a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory Wednesday night at the Arrowhead Pond.
Since arriving with center Tyler Wright on Nov. 15 in the trade that sent Fedorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Beauchemin has two goals and five assists in 11 games. He also has given the Ducks another physical element on the blue line.
"People were critical of the hockey content of the trade," Duck Coach Randy Carlyle said. "Our scouts felt Beauchemin would be a guy that was one step away from getting a chance to play. With the rules that changed in the game, we felt his hockey sense would allow him to play minutes for us."
The seven points Beauchemin has is two more than Fedorov has scored with the Blue Jackets in one fewer game. Beauchemin, who has been a plus or even in every game since the trade, was also one of a number of Ducks that got physical against the Lightning.
"That's when I play my best, when I get some hits and get involved in the offensive play," said the rookie, who was Montreal's third-round draft choice in 1998. "That's what I've got to do to be good."
The Ducks (14-13-5) won their fifth game in their last six at home and slowed a hot Tampa Bay team with what Carlyle said "was probably our best team effort of the year."
Anaheim had two power-play goals and outshot the Lightning, 33-24, in stopping goalie John Grahame's nine-game winning streak.
Todd Marchant and Zenon Konopka scored on deflections 43 seconds apart in the second period to rally Anaheim from a 1-0 deficit. Beauchemin assisted on both and then got one of his own on a power play in the third when he fished out a puck in the crease and put it past Grahame.
"I just think he's playing well," captain Scott Niedermayer said of his linemate. "With the puck, he's making some nice plays. Sometimes they're simple plays, but a lot of times they're the right thing to do and the best play."
The Ducks also got one of Jean-Sebastien Giguere's strongest games of the season as he made 22 saves and helped get them out of a tough spot in the second.
The Ducks had three consecutive overlapping penalties that resulted in two five-on-three situations and were on the defensive for 5 minutes 22 seconds. With the help of two point-blank stops by Giguere on Vincent Lecavalier, Anaheim killed all three penalties.
Former Duck Vinny Prospal cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:46 remaining, but Rob Niedermayer finished them off with an empty-net goal.