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From Detroit: Changes in Store for Ducks Power Play

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
“If we don’t get more production," Carlyle said, "we’re going to have to think about changing up the groups.”
By Dan Wood

Ducks Radio Analyst

DETROIT – After sneaking out a 3-2 victory Thursday night at Philadelphia despite being held without a power-play goal for a third consecutive game, the Ducks had no trouble figuring out where the emphasis should be during a Friday afternoon practice session at Joe Louis Arena.

“We need more production on it,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, referring to a power play that has failed on 13 consecutive man-advantage opportunities over three-plus games. “If we don’t get more production, we’re going to have to think about changing up the groups.”

Judging from their relatively short on-ice workout, the Ducks appear likely to move away from using winger Bobby Ryan at the point on the first power-play unit. Instead, they are likely to utilize another defenseman to team with Lubomir Visnovsky in Saturday night’s matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I think we’re going to move Bobby Ryan to a forward position,” Carlyle said. “We have some options. We could go to Bobby Ryan, (Teemu) Selanne and (Saku) Koivu (up front on one unit), and then (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry with, be it (Matt) Beleskey, be it (Dan) Sexton, be it (Jason) Blake. There are options there.”

For the most part this season, including when the Ducks went a combined 6-for-16 in three consecutive games from Oct. 11-15, the top power-play unit has consisted of Getzlaf, Perry and Selanne up front, with Ryan and Visnovsky on the back.

“We cannot, and we will not, sit still going with one group if they’re not getting the job done,” Carlyle said. “If they’re not scoring, we have to find a way to stimulate some other people, maybe create some competition for those minutes.”

One potential lineup addition that could help would be offensive-minded rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, who has missed the past two games because of a broken nose and stiff neck incurred in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center.

Fowler, who has a goal and two assists in his first six NHL games, skated with his teammates Friday. There was no official word on Fowler’s possible availability to face Detroit, but Carlyle did not rule it out.

Entering Friday’s games, the Ducks were tied for fourth in the NHL with a 33.3 percent power-play conversion rate (5-for-15) at home, but they ranked 26th in the league at 5.9 percent (1-for-17) on the road.

“It’s just a streaky thing, I think,” Getzlaf said. “When you go on the power play, some games you only get one or two opportunities. You need to take advantage of those. On the road, we need to bear down on it.”

Often, Getzlaf and Ryan have rotated, leaving Getzlaf at a point position.

“The way it’s been working right now, Getzlaf seems to be up there more than we think he should be at times,” Carlyle said. “We think he’s more effective on the wall, interchanging and moving.”

If there is one particular element of the power play the Ducks need more of, it is net presence. With the notable exception of Perry, there have not been enough players in front making life difficult for opposing goaltenders.

“At times, we get a little stagnant,” Getzlaf said. “That’s when we’re not effective. We’re getting shots, but not those second and third opportunities. That’s what you need.”

The Ducks also might need some good fortune, given that the Red Wings have surrendered only two power-play goals in 23 times short-handed this season, ranking fifth in the NHL at 91.3 percent before Friday.

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