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Focused on Improvement

Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 6:27 PM / News
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Focused on Improvement
By Dan Wood
Ducks Radio Analyst


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Ducks will look to build on Tuesday’s improved performance in Chicago when they try to break a three-game winless skid Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

While the Ducks are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks at the United Center, their play was significantly better than in back-to-back home losses to the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes last weekend.

“I wasn’t impressed with our first period, and then we had a 2-1 lead,” Coach Randy Carlyle said after putting the Ducks through a Wednesday afternoon practice session in Minnesota.

“We weren’t that good (in the first period) because of the amount of turnovers we were committing,” Carlyle said. “We have to cure that ailment earlier in the hockey game. It should be cured in warm-up. We can’t afford to have that loose-type of play.”

Out-shot by Chicago 11-5 but saved by goaltender Jonas Hiller in a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Ducks twice seized leads, on a power-play goal by Ryan Getzlaf and an even-strength strike from Teemu Selanne. The Blackhawks, despite being out-shot a combined 24-18 in the second and third periods, got even and forced overtime on a Patrick Sharp goal 5:57 into the third.

“Once we got out skills going, our mindset was that we were going to put the puck in and go to work, and we did that,” Carlyle said. “So that was encouraging. It was discouraging that we gave up a one-goal lead, but at least we were competing in the game. We were inside, and we did a lot of good things in the hockey game.”

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the contest for the Ducks was their failure on five other power play opportunities, including three in the third period. After ranking third in the NHL on the power play last season, the Ducks completed play Tuesday 25th in the league at 11.4 percent, with just four conversions in 35 man-advantage situations.

“We looked very, very tired (on the power play),” Carlyle said. “We were sloppy with the puck, and we weren’t crisp. And that is something that we can’t accept.

“It was just lack of execution in a critical point in the game.”

Ironically, the Ducks are much-improved in penalty-killing thus far this season, with 90.6 percent efficiency that ranked sixth in the NHL. Since giving up two power play goals in their 4-1, season-opening loss to the Buffalo Sabres in Helsinki, the Ducks have foiled 28 of the past 29 opposition manpower advantages.

“Our job is to make both (special teams) in the upper echelon, and that’s what we’re going to strive to do,” Carlyle said.

Rookie winger Devante Smith-Pelly, who missed Tuesday’s game because of flu-like symptoms, practiced Wednesday and will be re-evaluated today.

Rugged winger George Parros took a puck to the face early in practice and needed stitches to close the wound, which did not appear serious, according to Carlyle.

The Ducks also assigned winger J.F. Jacques to the Syracuse Crunch of the American League.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 32 22 9 1 100 64 45
3 STL 32 21 9 2 98 78 44
4 NSH 30 20 8 2 81 59 42
5 SJS 33 18 11 4 94 85 40
6 WPG 33 17 10 6 80 76 40
7 VAN 31 18 11 2 89 88 38
8 LAK 33 16 11 6 90 82 38
9 CGY 34 17 15 2 98 92 36
10 MIN 30 16 12 2 86 78 34
11 DAL 31 13 13 5 89 104 31
12 COL 31 10 13 8 78 99 28
13 ARI 31 11 16 4 72 100 26
14 EDM 33 7 20 6 69 110 20

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 34 12 25 7 37
R. Kesler 35 11 15 -2 26
S. Vatanen 35 9 15 -1 24
C. Perry 23 14 8 11 22
M. Beleskey 35 15 3 11 18
C. Fowler 34 3 14 1 17
J. Silfverberg 35 4 12 3 16
H. Lindholm 34 4 11 12 15
P. Maroon 27 2 12 -5 14
D. Smith-Pelly 31 4 8 3 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28
F. Andersen 18 5 4 .913 2.41

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