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Ducks looking for ways to end scoring slump

April 01, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne has scored 671 career goals but none in the last five games.
Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne has scored 671 career goals but none in the… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)

DALLAS—Greetings from Dallas, where the Ducks will face the Stars on Monday night in the second game of back-to-back sequences for both teams. The Stars played host to the Kings on Sunday and lost, 3-2, while the Ducks lost in overtime at Columbus, 2-1.

The Ducks held an optional skate Monday morning, but the most interesting scene took place in the hallway outside their locker room, where Coach Bruce Boudreau and right wing Teemu Selanne talked for several minutes. Between them they’ve scored 699 NHL goals—671 of them from Selanne.

The topic of their conversation was -- yes -- goal scoring, which the Ducks haven’t been doing much of lately. They’ve scored only eight goals in their last six games and their once-potent power play has failed to connect in the last four games, encompassing seven advantages. Over the last 11 games the Ducks’ power play is one for 23.

“Scoring and play and chemistry and power play. Those were the four things that we were discussing,” Boudreau said. “Where else, when your power play is struggling as ours is right now, who would know better about a power play than Teemu Selanne? I think he’s second or third in goals scored there. We were doing some hockey talk.”

Selanne ranks third all-time with 250 career power-play goals. But he hasn’t scored a power-play goal since Feb. 24 against Colorado, and he has no goals in his last five games.

Scoring, Boudreau said, has nothing to do with Xs and Os.

“It has everything to do with the will and the want,” he said. “To score goals, a) usually you have to have skill, but b) you have to have the desire to score goals. In other words you have to want, when you see that loose puck a foot in front of the goalie and you know you’re going to get your butt kicked, you’ve got to dive in there and get the goal. The goal has got to be worth more than the pain.

“I think when we were scoring all of those goals at the beginning of the year, that’s what we were getting. I think right now we’re playing a little too perimeter and a little too careful.”

Forward Bobby Ryan said the team had strayed from the habits that had made its power play so strong early in the season.

“In watching video, I think we’ve gotten away from the biggest thing that made us successful, and that was getting into the zone and moving pucks and setting up shots,” he said. “We’ve entered the zone cleanly a few times but have just kind of passed on the perimeter. A lot of times when we’ll get the puck to the net there’s no second and third attempts and that comes from the guy in front, the guy in the high slot, whether it’s [Corey] Perry, me, or the other unit. Pucks are just bouncing away from guys and it’s just got to come down to bearing down and really getting an ugly one to open things up.”

The team’s overall scoring slump, he said, “Is not what we’re accustomed to, certainly after how things have gone through the first half of the year. I think every team, at some point in the year, goes through a stretch where you’re trying to get back to your identity as a team. We’ve gotten a little away from that. You get one or two games and then it becomes four or five.

"It’s going to be a matter of getting a couple of real ugly ones and then things open up. You get some long shots and plays open up and all sorts of things. We’ve just got to attack the net a little more.”

Ryan is always the subject of rumors before the trade deadline — which this season is Wednesday at noon Pacific time — but it’s believed the Ducks have no intention of trading him now. And he doesn’t want to go.

“As a team we’ve built a pretty good thing here this year. We’ve got a really, really strong, tight-knit core," he said. "I certainly don’t think anybody in here wants to see anybody go or changes being made in that regard. I’m not going to think about it at all this year. I’m just going to play hockey.”

Check back later for more coverage of the Ducks' game at Dallas.

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