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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 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 47 15 35 13 50
C. Perry 33 19 12 16 31
R. Kesler 48 13 18 -1 31
S. Vatanen 48 10 20 5 30
M. Beleskey 47 18 7 13 25
C. Fowler 47 5 18 4 23
P. Maroon 40 5 18 2 23
H. Lindholm 47 5 15 14 20
J. Silfverberg 48 6 12 2 18
K. Palmieri 24 10 5 1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 27 6 5 .919 2.24
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28

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