As the Ducks special teams play continues to struggle, the coaches have made it a point of emphasis at practice. After an embarrassing loss to the Blues on Saturday the Ducks got right back to work at practice on Sunday and today. By the time they play their next game, which is Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars, the Ducks will have had three full days to regroup.
Most of the changes will come on offense, an area that most did not think would be an issue considering the team’s forward group. But after being shut out in two of the last three games it’s clear the situation needs to be addressed. Coach Randy Carlyle’s experiment of putting Joffrey Lupul on the third line to break up the offense did not go well, and Lupul will be back on the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu on Wednesday.
Other changes will come on the first power play unit as Ryan Getzlaf will go back to his normal spot on the half-boards instead of playing the point. This should give Ryan Whitney a spot with the first group and a chance to unleash his shot, something that Getzlaf has been unable or unwilling to do from the point. This move will also allow the Ducks to move another forward to the second unit to allow for a more balanced attack.
These changes should yield better results for the Ducks who are stuck in an 0-17 drought on the power play. The Ducks were one of the better teams last year with the man advantage and going back to the original formula should provide results. The change will also allow Getzlaf to play a familiar role and will hopefully spark his offensive game if he can get on the board.
The Ducks have also been working on the penalty kill again after giving up two more power play goals Saturday. James Wisniewski’s absence made it clear how important he is to the team, but he should return to the lineup Wednesday night, providing a much needed boost to the struggling penalty killing unit.
Other changes include Evgeny Artyukhin being demoted to the fourth line after taking a ton of minor penalties in the last few games. I only hope he doesn’t mess up the chemistry the fourth line already had, as George Parros, Ryan Carter, and Mike Brown have been the best and most consistent line for the Ducks this season.