The Anaheim Ducks begin a 4-game homestand tonight against the Minnesota Wild. After a roller-coaster series in Vegas, the Ducks’ attempt to bounce back will hinge on the first line. Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, and Adam Henrique need to start capitalizing on the chances that they have generated.
According to Hockey Reference, our top trio combined to attempt 22 shots. As we all know, this amounted to nothing outside of a sky-high CF%. Assuming that their shooting percentages will start to balance out, we can expect the first line to breakthrough tonight.
The Rakell line has been together since the beginning of training camp and averaged 17:00 minutes of ice time in the series against Vegas. While Maxime Comtois stole the headlines, the first line was unquestionably our best play-driving line.
How Can The Offense Break Through?
Kevin Shattenkirk believes there are a few quick fixes to the Ducks’ offensive woes.
“First and foremost, as a defenseman, it’s getting shots through from the point. I think we had a lot of shots blocked in the last game from the blueline.”
After reading Shattenkirk’s comments in the OC Register, I did some research on the Minnesota Wilds’ defense compared to VGK’s. Albeit from a small sample size, Vegas blocked about 20 shots per game against us. And like I mentioned earlier, as good as that makes underlying statistics look, it won’t translate to a lot of goals.
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On the other hand, the Wild have comparably only blocked 7 shots per game. So, staying true to Shattenkirk’s beliefs about the offense, the Anaheim Ducks’ focus needs to be on getting shots on net. Doing this, while bearing down on rebounds, will likely result in an uptick in high-danger scoring chances.
Anaheim Ducks Power-Play Woes
Again, at this point in the season, any conclusions drawn must be taken with a grain of salt due to the sample size. However, after just 6:00 minutes of power-play time through two games, the Ducks looked abysmal.
The Rakell line comprises a major part of our top unit, and they definitely need to work harder on entering the zone. After a rare zone entry, the unit showed some potential, but it often led to one-off opportunities and easy dumps for Vegas.
In the first two games, the Wild have been shorthanded three times more than Vegas was against the Ducks. So presumably, the power-play will be given more opportunities, and hopefully, be able to find their footing.
Overall, the Anaheim Ducks need more production up and down the lineup. We’re two games in and Max Comtois remains the only skater with a goal. Probably not the most reliable strategy long-term. Tonight is the time to shine for Rakell’s line. Good luck to Cam Talbot.
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