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Boudreau Led Ducks To Historic Special Teams

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Though Bruce Boudreau is quick to credit a commitment to the defensive side of the game when it comes to the 2015-16 turnaround for the Anaheim Ducks, another element of his former team's game was undoubtedly critical in its success.

And it's one that Boudreau is hoping to bring with him to the Midwest and his new club.

The Ducks became the first team since the 1984-85 New York Islanders to lead the NHL in both power-play and penalty-kill percentage.

Add in the Ducks were the stingiest defensive team, allowing the fewest goals in the regular season, and Anaheim was strong in three elements of its game that are vital to success.

The Minnesota Wild's power play has been tinkered with over the past few seasons, from personnel, to schemes, and has been an area that has been talked about on many occasions.

"It's a very simple answer," Boudreau said. "When you have five guys working as one, you succeed. When you have five guys individually out there ad-libbing the stuff, it never succeeds.

"You get everybody on the same page, you're working, everybody knowing what they're supposed to be doing, and doing it, and quite frankly having two good power-play units is the way to go."

In Anaheim, Boudreau was quick to heap praise on assistant coach Paul MacLean when it came to the success of his power play: Anaheim jumped from 15.1 percent on the power play two seasons ago to 23.1 percent this past year. Last season was MacLean's first in Anaheim.

Boudreau said another key to power play success is establishing two effective units.

"You need two units, whether you’re on the first one or the second one, it didn’t really matter," Boudreau said. "(Ryan) Kesler was on the second one; (Ryan) Getzlaf was on the first one. Whoever you put out there, you knew you were getting something good."

Penalty killing-wise, it was the Wild who, two seasons ago, led the NHL when it came to shorthanded effectiveness.

But last season, the Minnesota's PK slipped from the top spot in the league (86.3%) to the 27th in the NHL (77.9%).

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