Randy Youngman of the Orange County Register notes that, while it’s still early in the season, Anaheim can’t be happy with its power play.
“The Ducks’ power play, which has ranked among the league’s best in the past few seasons, has produced three goals in 25 chances (12 percent) with a manpower advantage,” Youngman writes. “That’s not acceptable for a team whose first power-play unit features the firepower of Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Lubomir Visnovsky.”
It’s a good point. Anaheim ranks 24th with the man advantage after finishing third, fifth and fifth over the last three years. And while things appear to be improving — the Ducks have scored on the PP in three straight games — there’s still a problem with wasted opportunities.
Having read that, you’re probably thinking “it’s only six games in…relax.” Which is fair, but not our fault. We’re very stressed people. Blogging is tough.
But there might actually be the slightest cause for concern. In the Youngman piece is another interesting point — Ducks coach Randy Carlyle thinks it could take 100 points to make the playoffs in the West this year. Chicago snuck in with 97 last season and the sixth place team, Phoenix, had 99. As such, teams are more and more concerned about slow starts (here’s looking at you, Columbus) as points lost in October are costlier than ever.
“Obviously for us, we lost our last game last year, and that’s why we didn’t make the playoffs,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas told Youngman after Dallas snapped the Ducks’ four-game winning streak on Friday. “So every point that we can get is huge. … It’s a very tough division; there’s a lot of parity.”
Robidas’ right — the Pacific division is a minefield. Dallas and Los Angeles are the top two teams in the Western Conference while San Jose’s won two straight after getting off to a slow start. Phoenix is in the basement, but has been a playoff team in consecutive seasons.
Speaking of the Coyotes, they’ll face Anaheim tonight in Sunday’s lone NHL game. It’ll be interesting to see how Phoenix handles the Anaheim PP as the ‘Yotes have the league’s 20th-ranked road penalty kill (81.2 percent).