Ducks moving James Wisniewski up to the first power-play unit

James Wisniewski appears set to join Ducks' first power-play unit in attempt to get group untracked.

After gaining a late power play Monday at Vancouver and pulling goaltender Frederik Andersen to get a six-on-four edge, the Ducks deployed their new strategy by getting the puck back to James Wisniewski at the blue line and letting him blast away at the net.

He didn't succeed because his booming shots were deflected wide, but he will try, try again. After playing on the second power-play unit in that 2-1 loss, Wisniewski was moved up to the first unit with Cam Fowler during Tuesday's practice. It's the Ducks' latest effort to improve their power play, which ranked 23rd through Monday's games with a success rate of 16.8% and is 0 for 15 over its last eight games.

As Fowler noted, that's not a lot of power plays: They ranked 17th in the NHL with 203 advantages through Monday.

"It's not like we're going 0 for four, 0 for five every night," he said. "But at the same time we're generating scoring chances."

The trick is converting those chances.

"If you do get that one power play chance, you never know, you have to bear down because that could be the difference between winning and losing the game," Wisniewski said.

Corey Perry, who takes (and inflicts) punishment to tip and deflect shots around the net, said there's no secret to an effective power play.

"You've got to outwork their penalty kill and you've got to get second opportunities and get the pucks back," he said. "If you can hem a team in for a minute and a half and keep moving that puck, keep shooting the puck and get rebounds or whatever, you're going to have success."

Perry praised Wisniewski's knack for getting pucks through traffic. "That's a huge part of it," Perry said. "It doesn't have to be hard, either, just get it on net, creating havoc in front of the net."

Wisniewski played a team-high 22 minutes and five seconds Monday after averaging 21:24 in 56 games with Columbus, which traded him to the Ducks on March 2. Coach Bruce Boudreau said when defenseman Sami Vatanen returns from a knee injury he likely will play on another power-play unit with Francois Beauchemin or Hampus Lindholm.

Wisniewski said establishing a shot from the point can bring defenders out, leaving forwards room in front of the net.

"When you're just kind of passing it around you're not making anybody move," Wisniewski said. "Once you shoot, the penalty killers have to collapse because they have to protect the middle of the ice. Then they have to extend out when you retrieve the puck and that opens up seams, and then pretty plays can develop if you have a shoot-first mentality."

Practice points

Vatanen and left wing Matt Beleskey (shoulder) practiced Tuesday but aren't expected to play. During practice Boudreau moved center Nate Thompson up to the third line and Rickard Rakell to the fourth line.



When: 6:30 PDT.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830

Etc.: The Ducks are 3-0-1 this season against the Flames, who recently completed a 4-2-1 trip that kept them in a playoff spot. Forward Jiri Hudler led them with four goals and eight points in the last four games.

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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