Ducks winger Emerson Etem skates ahead of the Blues' Matt D'Agostini,… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
The progress made by Ducks rookie wing Emerson Etem adds an intriguing dynamic to the team pushing to finish with the Western Conference's best record.
"Youthful energy is tremendous in the dog days," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's really meaningful. We have guys getting up there who don't have the same energy. When they see the young guys doing it, it catches on. No team's going to survive without young guys."
Long Beach's Etem, 20, didn't make the Ducks' roster after training camp. He was briefly promoted, then sent back to minor league Norfolk (Va.) before returning for good in February.
"In three-on-threes [drills] and road trips at this time of year, the older guys are understandably tired and you need the young guys to be ready night in and night out," said Etem, who has three goals and six assists. "It's good to know there's trust. We're all here to help each other out."
Although NHL coaches and executives are apt to exercise caution with young players, Etem's speed and tenacity have swayed Boudreau to increase his minutes in the last three games.
Wednesday against Dallas, Etem played a season-high 17 minutes on the No. 2 line with Teemu Selanne and Andrew Cogliano.
"I've tried to make it simple, concentrate on defense first and chip in on offense when I can," Etem said.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf took Thursday's practice off as a "maintenance day," according to a Ducks official, after leaving Wednesday's 5-2 victory over visiting Dallas late in the third period because of what appeared to be right knee pain.
The team describes Getzlaf's soreness as a standard lower-body injury, and Boudreau said afterward that the center "tweaked" himself, hinting the situation did not appear serious.
"He's sore," Boudreau said. "He's going to be OK, but he's sore."
Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey (six goals) was struck in the left eye area by the stick of Dallas right wing Alex Chiasson. A cut required stitches and Beleskey did not return.
"I got lucky it didn't hit my eye," Beleskey said. "Part of the game."
Sign him up
The Ducks signed free-agent forward Steven Whitney to a two-year entry-level contract. The Boston College senior ranked second in the nation in goals, scoring a career-high 26 (with 19 assists) in 38 games.
DUCKS VS. DALLAS
Where: Honda Center.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830.
Record vs. Stars: 3-1.
Etc.: Dallas hadn't given up a power-play goal since Feb. 25 until Selanne scored a second-period goal Wednesday.