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DUCKS REPORT

Melin has a memorable debut

January 08, 2007|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Bjorn Melin played in Sweden for seven years but it wasn't because he didn't want to leave his homeland to play in the NHL.

On the contrary, Melin pined for an opportunity as years passed while two teams held his rights.

"It was always a dream for me to come here," he said. "I've wanted to play in this league."

Melin got his chance Sunday night and got the tiebreaking goal in the Ducks' 4-2 victory over Detroit. A sixth-round pick of the New York Islanders in 1999, the forward was acquired by the Ducks in March 2002.

After being scouted for the last four years, the Ducks signed him to a one-year entry-level contract May 31. Melin was blunt when asked why he hadn't gotten a look until now.

"I probably wasn't good enough," he said. "I had to work on everything. Had to be more physical and get more mature."

Melin, 25, also struggled in adapting his game while in the Ducks' training camp.

"The adjustment from training camp until now has been a huge one for him," Coach Randy Carlyle said. "In training camp, he was kind of like a deer in the headlights. He didn't really know what was going on and how the game was played here in North America."

Melin went to the Ducks' minor league affiliate in Portland, Maine, where Carlyle said his game improved by leaps and bounds. While at Portland, the winger had seven goals and 14 points in 28 games.

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Travis Moen put the Ducks up in the second period with his career-high sixth goal.

Asked about the last time he had goals in consecutive games, Moen said, "I think never. First time."

Moen has 14 goals in 165 NHL games.

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Center Samuel Pahlsson played in his 237th consecutive game, dating to the 2002-03 season, to tie Oleg Tverdovsky's club mark set from Oct. 2, 1999 to March 24, 2002.

eric.stephens@latimes.com

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