Anaheim Ducks: Keys to Opening Night Win

4 of 5

Shots, shots, and more shots

Sep 28, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Emerson Etem (16) attempts a shot defended by Los Angeles Kings defender Vincent LoVerde (50) during the third period at Honda Center. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks with a final score of 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Every coach will say that it is never a bad idea to put the puck on the net: one of the most resounding hockey adages is “Throw the puck on net, and good things will happen”. The Ducks went stretches of periods, and even games, without getting the puck on net consistently.

The team strung together series of games where they would get outshot, and this really came to the forefront in the playoffs against both Dallas and Los Angeles. Goals come from shots, so the Ducks need to make it a priority to pressure Marc-Andre Fleury with shots. Fleury has shown he can stand on his head some nights, but there are also many nights when he’s off. The Ducks need to attack, as the Penguins have question marks in goal. The team also lost Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen from their blue-line, which means they could be susceptible to some early-season struggles on the back end.

Goals, whether they come from slapshots at the blue-line, on wrap-arounds, or from crashing the net and potting a rebound, are still goals. They should come with a large volume of shots. The more shots the Ducks put on goal, the more the team will test Fleury and establish that rugged forecheck in the dirty areas. Having and keeping the puck in the offensive zone is a great way to both generate offense on one end and limit it on the other. Again, the Penguins like to break out of the zone and beat teams in transition with a combination of their skill and speed.

By making them work to retrieve the puck, the Penguins may try to press in the offensive zone and force some opportunities. Combining that with the physical nature of the Ducks’ forecheck, and Pittsburgh might make enough errors to cost them a game.