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Ducks glad to have Francois Beauchemin back

Anaheim DucksFrancois BeaucheminJonas HillerLuca SbisaSami VatanenColorado Avalanche

The banged-up Ducks defense was lifted Sunday by the return of veteran Francois Beauchemin, who played about 20 minutes in his first action since May knee surgery.

Beauchemin had labored through the playoffs on a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"It's been a long summer … maybe play again Saturday and be ready for the opener," he said after the Ducks' 2-1 exhibition loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center.

"It was important to get in a couple games … just to get the rhythm back, to get in game shape, get the feel of the game."

Beauchemin, 33, told teammates at last season's end he intended to return for the Oct. 2 season opener, which raised some doubts given the severity of the injury.

But Beauchemin required a similar recovery timetable after tearing a left-knee ACL in November 2008, and returned to play April 10, 2009.

"Me going through it before, I knew what I was expecting," he said.

Perfect timing for the player Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau calls his team's No. 1 defenseman.

The Ducks lost rugged defenseman Toni Lydman to retirement after last season and they're also without injured veteran leader Sheldon Souray (torn wrist ligament) for two months.

Last week, defensemen Luca Sbisa (sprained ankle) and Sami Vatanen (lower-body injury) were sidelined. Sbisa said he's planning to be ready for the opener, and Vatanen will practice Monday, Boudreau said.

"We'll deal with it; other guys are getting healthier," Boudreau said. "We seem to have an awful lot of banged-up guys that are not long-term. Hopefully, in the next two, three days they'll all be skating and within a week they'll be in game shape ready to go."

That lists includes Sunday's addition, right wing Jakob Silfverberg, who was knocked to the ice and went slowly to the dressing room in the game's final five minutes.

Wing Emerson Etem was also seen walking gingerly Sunday after being hurt in Friday's game at San Jose.

Facing a watered-down Colorado lineup, Ducks defenders weren't intensely pressured Sunday as goalie Jonas Hiller confronted only six first-period shots on goal.

With 7:40 left in the second, Colorado's Guillaume Desbiens rocketed the ninth shot past Hiller's left into the net for the game's first goal.

After Kyle Palmieri scored on a third-period breakaway for the Ducks to tie it, Hiller was betrayed when the puck glanced off the stick of defenseman Shea Theodore, the Ducks' No. 1 draft pick, for a goal credited to Colorado's Brad Malone.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Anaheim DucksFrancois BeaucheminJonas HillerLuca SbisaSami VatanenColorado Avalanche
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