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Keeping Things in Check

The heart of the Ducks for so long, the checking line of Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen has been shining even more of late

Wednesday, 01.07.2009 / 6:12 PM / Features
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Keeping Things in Check
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com


As the checking line goes, so goes the Ducks?

"It feels good," said Rob Niedermayer of his 10 goals already on the season. "With our line, we just have to keep trying to shoot the puck as much as we can and keep going to the net."
According to Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, forwards Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Travis Moen are “in a lot of ways, the identity of the hockey club.” There has been plenty of evidence to support his point, none more apparent than the trio’s leading role in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs that culminated in a championship for the Ducks. Recently, the three have once again proven their impact on the team’s fortunes endures.

In the last three games (all played at Honda Center), the checking line has enjoyed some of their finer performances yet of the 2008-09 campaign. And it’s no surprise the Ducks have gone 2-0-1 in those contests and now sit tied with Vancouver with the fifth-most points (47) in the Western Conference With the second half of the season starting tomorrow night in Los Angeles, it seems like the trio picked the perfect time to consistently show its face.

“The best game they played was the game against Philadelphia,” said Carlyle of his unit that shut down the vaunted line of Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul, limiting them to a combined minus-five rating on Jan. 2. “They followed it up with a real strong performance against Phoenix. They draw tough assignments. They do the yeoman’s work in the corners, the grind, the penalty killing and blocking of the shots. All those things are not easy things to do. They are hard on players’ bodies.”

Along with their tireless work on the defensive end, Niedermayer and Pahlsson are also seeing a spike in their production while playing in the offensive zone. During last night’s defeat of the rival Kings, Pahlsson’s tip-in on the power play 9:45 into the final stanza proved to be the game-winner and Niedermayer’s empty-netter with seven seconds remaining sealed shut a 3-1 victory.

“We’re just being a little bit smarter out there,” Niedermayer said.  “I think early on we weren’t really putting pucks in good spots where we could go and get them. I think we were looking to get rid of it too much and too early. Now, we’re starting to hold onto it a little bit better.”

The late goal was Niedermayer’s 10th on the year, which has already bypassed the totals he had (five goals in 2006-07 and eight in 2007-08) in each of the two previous seasons. At his current rate, the 34-year-old is on track for 20 goals, which would be his best output since 1995-96 when he tallied a career-high 26 with Florida.

"Every time Sammy is out on the power play, it seems like we score," said Travis Moen of Pahlsson. "He's doing something right out there."
“It feels good,” said Niedermayer, who has scored seven of those 10 since being a healthy scratch in the Kings’ first visit to Anaheim on Nov. 16. “I think it’s just sometimes pucks go in, sometimes they don’t. With our line, we just have to keep trying to shoot the puck as much as we can and keep going to the net.”

Pahlsson’s goal actually came without Niedermayer or Moen on the ice, as the soft-spoken Swede continued to cash in on his rare opportunity on the power play. With Teemu Selanne injured and Corey Perry serving a four-game suspension, Pahlsson has been beside Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan on the first power play unit the last two games. That teaming has produced four goals during that span.

“Every time Sammy is out on the power play, it seems like we score,” Moen said. “He’s doing something right out there.”

Said Niedermayer, “I think it’s great. Sammy’s been consistent for us for a lot of years. It’s nice to see him get a good chance here. I think he’s got a lot more offensive ability than people think.”

The inclusion of Pahlsson on the power play came as somewhat of a “fluke,” according to Carlyle. With Ryan Getzlaf serving a five-minute major during the third period at Vancouver on Dec. 22, the Ducks inserted Pahlsson for nearly four minutes of power play time. The result was two goals, including Pahlsson’s third of the year, which nearly gave Anaheim a comeback victory.

“Sammy went to the front of the net and took the offensive zone faceoffs on the two goals that we scored on the power play,” Carlyle said. “So, it wasn’t really any rocket science to go back to it.”

Already a staple of the penalty kill, Pahlsson just might get a permanent spot on the other special teams unit if the results carry on. “If he continues to win faceoffs and goes to the front of the net and we execute to the level,” Carlyle said, “it’s going to be hard to move him out of that position.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 


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