Apr 18, 2014, 2:59 PM EST
Anaheim will be without one of its most productive Game 1 forwards tonight when it hosts the Stars at the Honda Center.
Matt Beleskey, who notched two points and scored the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s 4-3 win, is out with a lower-body injury, the Ducks announced. His departure paves the way for Devante Smith-Pelley to make his NHL playoff debut.
“The three games he’s played for us have been very good,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said of Smith-Pelley, who played mostly in November before getting recalled in April to dress three times. “He’s been a difference maker in the last two games.”
Smith-Pelley, 21, appeared in 19 games for Anaheim this season, scoring 10 points. He’s an effective young forward with some size — 6-foot, 225 pounds — but will need to provide quite the presence to make up for Beleskey, who was playing very well of late.
Beleskey closed the year scoring five points in his last six regular season games; he also posted a career-high 24 points this year, despite appearing in just 55 contests.
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