Ducks' Patrick Maroon gets first-line crack to address scoring slump

Ducks winger Patrick Maroon will get shot on first line to help address scoring slump

Instead of a panic button, Ducks forward Patrick Maroon was handed a vote of confidence at practice Friday.

Although Maroon is in the middle of a 15-game goal-less skid that has featured 31 shots getting denied, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau placed Maroon on the first line with Anaheim’s points leader, Ryan Getzlaf, and potent-scoring Corey Perry.

“Has nothing to do with anything,” Maroon said of his scoring drought. “Puck’s not going into the net, sometimes you go through that. Right now, I’m going through it.

“But I think I need to just stick with it, keep playing big … it will come. The second half last season, I scored nine goals.”

Maroon was denied on three shots by New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss, and he missed three golden chances to convert in a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on New Year’s Eve.

“You beat yourself up … . It goes through my head once in a while, but I’m getting chances, so that’s a good sign,” Maroon said. “You watch Corey Perry, he misses those ones, too, but he goes right back, and I want to keep doing that, too.”

Boudreau said he’s told Maroon, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg (11 combined goals after 42 combined last season), “that with chances, you’re going to start scoring some. Every game, there’s Grade-A opportunities. Maybe they’re squeezing the stick too tight, but you either get frustrated and say, ‘I can’t score,’ or you get more determined and score in bunches.”

Boudreau’s line assignment Friday was another nod of confidence as the Ducks (26-10-6) prepared for Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

“I’m big and physical and strong, and those guys [Getzlaf and Perry] need the puck,” Maroon said. “My goal is to be there for a while. I want to stick with these guys. I can work well down low, and that’s the thing: I’m still getting points.”

Maroon’s 14 assists are tied for fourth among the Ducks.

ALL-STAR TALK: The Ducks' losses to San Jose and the Rangers cost Boudreau a chance to coach opposite Kings Coach Darryl Sutter in the Jan. 25 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio.

Rosters will be announced by the NHL on Saturday, and because Nashville will possess the NHL's best record based on winning percentage, Predators’ first-year Coach Peter Laviolette will coach a team, not Boudreau.

“Who wouldn’t have liked to have done it? But that’s what happens when you lose those last couple of games,” Boudreau said. “Peter’s the coach. Good for him.”

While Boudreau said he expects the “usual suspects,” Getzlaf, Perry and center Ryan Kesler, to be strong All-Star contenders, Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (22 wins), defenseman Sami Vatanen (ranked 10th in the NHL among defensemen, with 26 points) and forward Matt Beleskey (team-high 17 goals) deserve consideration after “extraordinary years.”

“There’s a lot of great players in the National Hockey League, but if they don’t get picked, I’m sure they’re picking someone who has just as good of a year,” Boudreau said. “They all warrant it, and I hope whoever’s on the voting committee sees it.”

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