Anaheim Ducks Penalty Kill is a High Point in Turbulent November.


October 17, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Andrew Cogliano (7) moves in to score a goal against Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper (35) during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The month of November has been a month of ups and downs for the Anaheim Ducks.  Plagued by injuries and illnesses, the Ducks are struggling to stay at the top of the Pacific Division.  Through all this, one aspect of the Ducks’ game that’s been consistently performing well is the Penalty Kill.

Currently the Ducks sit at ninth in the league in penalty kills with an 84.2% success rate.

Penalty kill is typically a defensive minded special team, so it only makes sense that the defensemen would be primary in the success of a penalty kill.  For the Ducks, however, it’s the forwards that have been leading the way by blocking shots and keeping the puck along the walls.  Nate Thompson and Jakob Silfverberg have done well possessing the puck and keeping it out of the Ducks’ zone.

Along with their defensive play, the Ducks’ forwards have been threatening offensively.  Andrew Cogliano and Devante Smith-Pelly have added a touch of speed to the penalty kill and each have been rewarded by a short handed goal this season.  Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler have had their fair share of chances on the penalty kill as well.

Part of the reason the Ducks have done well is their increased success in faceoffs.  Kesler has helped with that as he usually takes the first faceoff on the Penalty Kill.  Nate Thompson and Ryan Getzlaf have also been strong in the faceoff circle allowing the Ducks to initiate possession and work the puck out of the zone.

At the end of the day the penalty kill is a defensive unit and the defensemen and the goaltenders have certainly been doing thier job defensively.  The goaltenders have had to stand tall and make the important saves.  The defensemen have done well to work hard below the hashmarks and limit the opposing teams chances down low.  Francois Beauchemin has been strong in front of the net, but it’s been rookie Josh Manson that has been battling for and winning the puck battles down low in order to get the puck out of the zone.

It’s been a wildly inconsistent November for the Ducks, but their penalty kill unit remains strong.  They keep the play simple, outwork their opponent, and capitalize on their chances.  If they played with this mentality the whole sixty minutes, maybe they wouldn’t be struggling to stay at the top of the Pacific Division.