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INSIDE THE BOARDS LONNIE WHITE

Carlyle's line shifts pay off

June 07, 2007|LONNIE WHITE

Every team divides up the same amount of minutes for players, but Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle and his staff have shown during this year's Stanley Cup playoffs that winning teams know how to gain an edge here.

During the regular season, the Ducks' checking line of Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen matched up against the best scoring threats in the league. As a group, the three averaged between 14:48 and 17:21 of ice time per game and basically just did their job each time out and each finished the regular season with at least a negative-four plus/minus rating.

The rating is a simple calculation. When a team scores a goal, each player on the ice for that team receives a plus-1 rating while allowing a goal results in a minus-1.

In the playoffs, Carlyle turned the three loose. In winning this year's NHL title, the Ducks' checking line effectively slowed down four high-scoring lines that included Minnesota's Marion Gaborik and Pavol Demitra; Vancouver's Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik; Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsuyk and Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

The Ducks' checking line plus/minus numbers for the postseason? Pahlsson had a plus-10 rating, Niedermayer a plus-9 and Moen a plus-5.

During the regular season and over the first three rounds of the playoffs, Ottawa relied heavily on Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley to carry its offense. But the Senators looked short-handed once they faced the Ducks, who excelled thanks to Carlyle's shifty line changes.

The Senators' top scoring trio never got going and Coach Bryan Murray never was able to get the right mix once he split them up.

That is a credit to Carlyle, who throughout the playoffs had the uncanny knack of getting specific players he wanted in certain situations. And it's the main reason why the Ducks had only one regular player finish with a negative rating in the playoffs -- which is even more impressive when considering that the Ducks tied an NHL postseason record with 12 one-goal victories.

lonnie.white@latimes.com

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On the plus side

Plus/minus totals in the Ducks' five-game series against the Ottawa Senators:

DUCKS

Forwards

*--* Ryan Carter E Ryan Getzlaf +1 Mark Hartigan E Chris Kunitz -1 Todd Marchant -1 Brad May +1 Andy McDonald +3 Drew Miller +1 Travis Moen +3 Joe Motzko E Rob Niedermayer +4 Samuel Pahlsson +4 George Parros E Dustin Penner +2 Corey Perry +3 Teemu Selanne E Ryan Shannon E Shawn Thornton E Defensemen Francois Beauchemin -1 Joe DiPenta E Kent Huskins +2 Ric Jackman +2 Scott Niedermayer +1 Sean O'Donnell +4 Chris Pronger +4 Aaron Rome E

*--*

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OTTAWA

Forwards

*--* Daniel Alfredsson -3 Mike Comrie -3 Patrick Eaves E Mike Fisher -2 Dany Heatley -3 Chris Kelly -2 Dean McAmmond E Brian McGrattan E Chris Neil -1 Oleg Saprykin +1 Peter Schaefer -2 Jason Spezza -2 Antoine Vermette -1 Defensemen Joseph Corvo E Andrej Meszaros -2 Lawrence Nycholat E Chris Phillips -2 Tom Preissing E Wade Redden -3 Christoph Schubert -2 Anton Volchenkov -4

*--*

Note: Plus/minus measures the team goal differential when a player is on the ice.

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