Selanne stumped by Ducks' slumping power play

Selanne stumped by Ducks' slumping power play
October 29, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Teemu Selanne has one of the Ducks' four power-play goals this season. (AP)

Were it not for strong 5-on-5 play and 39 goals scored, the Anaheim Ducks might not be sitting as comfortable as they are right now, fourth in the Western Conference.

That’s because their power play is buried at 30th overall -- dead last -- in the NHL at 8.2 percent.

Teemu Selanne is stunned at that ranking, too.

“For as long as I have been here (eight years), the Ducks' power play was top five every year,” Selanne said. And that's pretty much on the mark -- they've been in the top five in five of the last seven seasons.

“It’s a confidence factor," Selanne continued. "We’ve made bad decisions. We’re forcing things. You work hard and keep it simple when you are struggling.

“Power play and penalty killing is how you win games. Having the record we have without a power play, we look like power play killers every night. The good sign is we have a lot of depth 5-on-5 and have four lines to make a difference.”

Anaheim’s penalty-kill units aren’t much better, either -- just 26th overall at 76.2 percent.

“It’s struggled and it’s hard to get the numbers up -- it takes a long time,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of his PK units.

As Selanne noted, a few power-play goals and a team can get a big lift in the rankings.

“The PK, you have to kill off 10 in a row just to move a notch,” Selanne said.

Anaheim’s struggling special teams is something the Flyers hope they can capitalize up Tuesday night when they host the Ducks at Wells Fargo Center.

Of course, the Flyers' PP unit is poor too at 27th (10 percent).

“I’ve talked about special teams a lot and a lot of times -- it's half the game,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “We’ve been doing a pretty good job of staying out of the box and we got to continue to do that.

“You don’t want to put (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry on the power play. Nothing good is going to happen for you.”

Perry and Getzlaf are among the league leaders in scoring -- Perry with 13 points and Getzlaf with 12.

Anaheim has six players with three or more goals. The Flyers have one, Vinny Lecavalier with four (three of which came on a hat trick Saturday).

Boudreau credits his depth for keeping the team high in the standings even though eight players are injured, including ex-Flyers defenseman Luca Sbisa.

“Our 10th, 11th and 12th forwards, when someone went down, our 13th, 14th and 15th were pretty close in [skill level] so that when somebody goes down, you are actually putting in good NHL players right into their place who know how to play,” Boudreau said. “They’ve come in and it’s been seamless.”

Players such as another ex-Flyer, like Patrick Maroon,  Peter Holland, and Devante Smith-Pelly.

“They’ve all done well,” Boudreau said.

One key Duck returns tonight from the injured list: 25-year-old Mathieu Perrault, who will center Selanne and Emerson Etem.

“He’s creative, he’s fast and he can shoot and I’m very excited about him,” Selanne said. “For a guy like myself, I am so much more active when I play with someone like that.

“When you are open, you know the puck is coming. His skill level is amazing. Right away in the practices, I was shaking my head. The chemistry was pretty quick.”

It’s something to watch for tonight.