Since the beginning of 2014, the Anaheim Ducks have been bitten by the bad power play bug.
If it gets any worse, we may have to reconsider and say they have been bitten by the putrid, atrocious, horrific and appalling power play bug.
And that still may be too nice.
The Ducks have been mired in an abysmal 2-for-50 slump with the extra man. All six of Anaheim’s opportunities with the man advantage Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals were for naught as it was shutout in the power play goal department once again. Mathieu Perreault appeared to break the slump with a wrist shot past Jaroslav Halak, but the goal was scored after power play time expired.
So the Ducks once again failed miserably with the extra attacker.
In an interview after the loss to Washington, head coach Bruce Boudreau noted that this isn’t something new for his team.
It’s been our Achilles all year. We don’t score on the power play and we don’t defend on the PK. It’s something we’ve got 13 games to correct or we’re going to be in trouble.
Who can blame him for thinking that?
The Ducks had more than enough chances to tie and take the lead in the loss to the Capitals. Even if Boudreau’s squad scored only one power play goal last night, the Ducks would have had a better shot at securing at least one point. And everyone knows how important points are at this time of year.
Following a pair of losses by the Ducks and Sharks Tuesday night, the top spot in the division is still tied. Both teams sit with 97 points as they head into Thursday night’s game in San Jose.
As bad as Anaheim’s 21st ranked power play has been, San Jose isn’t faring any better. Ranked just below the Ducks, San Jose is converting on 15.9 percent of its’ man advantage opportunities which is a sliver below the Ducks’ 16 percent. Another interesting stat that Ducks fans will surely love is the fact that Anaheim also features a better power play unit than rival Los Angeles, the 25th ranked man advantage team with a 15 percent conversion rate.
But in order for the Ducks to make a serious run in the playoffs, the special teams need to click.
With the Pacific Division hanging in the balance, the Ducks need to ramp it up down the stretch in order to win their second consecutive division title.
And that starts with the battle in San Jose. The Sharks feature one of the better penalty killing units in the NHL, ranking 5th by killing off 85 percent of the opposing power plays they are presented with. If the Ducks can get one to the back of the net with the extra man, that could get the ball rolling for an improved power play the rest of the season and into the postseason.
All it takes is one.
And that’s the only remedy to cure the putrid, atrocious, horrific and appalling power play bug bite.
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