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Secondary scoring becoming concern for Ducks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Even Teemu Selanne can be hindered by pressure.

Despite playing his 22nd NHL season and ranking 11th all-time in goals scored, the 43-year old is struggling to break out of a frustrating scoring slump for the Anaheim Ducks.

He hasn't recorded a point since Oct. 27, hasn't scored a goal since Oct. 20 and is a big reason why the Ducks are having secondary scoring issues behind the "big three" of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner.

"It's a normal thing," Selanne said Friday, following Anaheim's morning skate at United Center. "You try not to, but usually nothing good happens when you start thinking about it too much or you start forcing something and start squeezing the stick. Everything has to come naturally but it's funny how it works. There's no pattern for it. You just have to be patient, work hard and stay positive. It's not an easy thing."

He wasn't only referring to his dry spell. The Ducks need more than their top line to shoulder the scoring load and they'd like for it to start happening soon, preferably Friday against the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Teemu Selanne
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 46 | +/-: 1
"We had that secondary scoring and they've stopped doing it," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's something that we've talked about a lot and we'll see how it goes now. Those guys have got to work harder. It's been addressed numerous times. They're not getting it because they're not paying the price to score."

Boudreau wants more of his forwards going hard to the net and taking the punishment to create more goals.

"It's not easy to score in this League, and if you're not willing to go to the net and not willing to take a shot off your butt and go in and get a cross-check in the back, then very rarely are you going to get those pretty goals," Boudreau said. "You look at any goal-scorer, they might score the odd pretty goal but they score like everybody else. Most of the goals [come] from just outside the blue [paint]."

The Ducks recalled 21-year old forward Emerson Etem and center David Steckel from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Thursday when center Mathieu Perreault was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Perreault, like Selanne, hadn't scored a goal since October (Halloween) and had just three assists in his past 15 games. It also hasn't helped that Anaheim has been without talented forward Jakob Silfverberg (broken hand) for 19 straight games and just got center Saku Koivu (concussion) back Nov. 29 following a 15-game absence.

Boudreau would like to see a more consistent effort at both ends of the ice from Etem and hopes Steckel's acumen on faceoffs and defense helps make up for Perreault.

Etem in particular could help add some scoring. His defense, however, is how he'll be judged most. After playing well in Anaheim's 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Detroit Red Wings, his performance hasn't been consistent enough for Boudreau this season.

"He just came back from a little vacation in Norfolk and I'm sure, as much as Norfolk is a great city and the team treats him well and he gets a lot of ice time, I don't think he wants to go back," Boudreau said. "You can't just come in in the NHL and throw your jersey on the ice and say, 'Hey, I'm here. I had a great playoffs and I'm in.' You've got to play every shift like it's your last. When you do that eventually you earn [more ice time]. Right now it's too inconsistent. One game is good, one game is bad, one game is good … we've got to get, especially the young guys, to be less inconsistent."

The "big three" have been rock solid which is why the scoring dearth hasn't led to an extended losing streak.

Getzlaf (14 goals, 18 assists), Perry (16 goals, 15 assists) and Penner (nine goals, 13 assists) have accounted for 39 goals and 85 points, which amounts to 42 percent of the Ducks' 92 goals. Beyond them the biggest scorer is Nick Bonino (seven goals, 12 assists), who likely will center the second line against Chicago in place of Perreault.

When the Ducks are at full strength Bonino centers the fourth line. He also plays on the power play but probably shouldn't be as far ahead in the secondary scoring department.

"Bruce has addressed it and obviously it helps if everybody's contributing," Perry told "At the same time we're still getting some wins and still doing the right things. Eventually it's going to come back to us. It was there at the start of the season and lasted for a little bit and eventually somebody's going to get a big bounce and get that ball rolling."

Selanne feels the same.

"We have a lot of guys also struggling to put the puck in the net so I think we need one game where we get a lot of other guys scoring instead of the first line," he said. "We need everybody. It's part of life too. You go up and down and you appreciate the times when things go well. Then when things don't go well you try to find a way to turn it around."

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