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 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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