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Penalty killing woes on Anaheim Ducks' mind

October 09, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Defenseman Cam Fowler says the Ducks are frustrated with their performance on the penalty kill so far this season. Anaheim has given up five goals in 11 penalty kill situations.
Defenseman Cam Fowler says the Ducks are frustrated with their performance… (David Zalubowski / Associated…)

The Ducks have given up five goals in 11 penalty kill situations (29th in the NHL), and they spent quality time on the issue in practice Wednesday.

Defenseman Cam Fowler says the team is “definitely frustrated” but believes hard work is the remedy.

“It’s simple things,” Fowler said. “Getting the puck down when we need to. Getting a change to get fresh guys on ice when we can. Making sure we know our responsibilities on face-offs. We can do a better job of being aggressive when we have a chance to.”

The Ducks surrendered a power-play goal to Winnipeg Sunday but answered with two stops afterward -- cause for optimism as far as Coach Bruce Boudreau is concerned.

“We forget sometimes penalty killing can be good, and they still score a goal,” Boudreau said following practice Wednesday for Thursday night’s home opener at Honda Center Center vs. the New York Rangers at 7.

The Rangers have scored twice in 10 power-play opportunities.

“I don’t think it’s been good, but we’ve lost some face-offs, and the puck’s been in our net in five seconds," Boudreau said of his team's performance. "Tips, redirects, hitting skates make the numbers look bad, but I think we’re getting better at it.

“If we can continue on this trend, we’ll go on a little roll where we’ll kill a lot.”

Fowler, an offensive-minded defenseman, said, “when a team has possession, you have to pull yourself back a little bit and take away some lanes.

“We’ve just been caught in between a few times on that, but they’re simple things we can clean up. We all have defensive instincts to kill penalties. It’s making sure we communicate, and planning how we want to kill against certain teams, making sure we go over mistakes to correct those.”

Ducks assistant coaches Brad Lauer and Bob Woods addressed the situation at practice Wednesday and will do so again at practice Saturday before Ottawa visits.

“We know we can be better, and we’ve proved last year we can do it,” Fowler said.

Said Boudreau: “In general, our special teams have got to get better. We will keep working on it ... and hope it breaks our way.”

Schedule Challenge: The Ducks play five consecutive home games through Oct. 20 before embarking on a grueling eight-game road trip.

Boudreau said he’s pushing the team to win as many games as it can at Honda Center considering the coming grind.

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