CALGARY, Canada -- Teemu Selanne’s increasing production of two goals and two assists in
his past four games alongside Ducks’ first-line stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf could alter the veteran’s handling.
Selanne, 43, said Wednesday before the Ducks' game against the Calgary Flames that he feels energized enough to play on back-to-back game days if called upon.
The Ducks play in Edmonton and Vancouver on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Before the season began, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau and Selanne crafted a strategy to give
Selanne one game off when the Ducks confronted back-to-back games in what he’s said will be his final season.
He’s skipped 10 games already as part of the plan, but current events have him enthused,
although he yielded to Boudreau to make the final call.
“I’m ready to play,” Selanne said.
“But the plan is still going to be what we created early in the season. … That’s his decision. … The plan that we did was not whether I did good or bad. It was created to help everybody [with playing time]. … Let’s see what happens.”
Perry, with a team-best 37 goals, has two goals and four assists in the past four games with Selanne.
“It’s exciting,” Perry said. “Teemu’s a guy who’s scored a lot of goals in this league and when you’ve got him in that line, there’s a good chance that will continue.”
“We’re trying to find lines to get ready for the playoffs. We’re all on the same page of, 'Let’s find who’s in the best spot.' ”
Selanne said as he feels up to it, he’s fine with the extra work. The Ducks confront two more back-to-backs after this week, April 6-7 in Edmonton and Vancouver, and April 12-13 at the Kings and at home versus Colorado.
Boudreau said he likes that the first-line members are "starting to read off each other. They all have high hockey IQs, offensively. When you have a high hockey IQ, and you're starting to read off them and get comfortable, usually you find open spots."
“I always believe [with] the chemistry, you’re only going to find that by playing a lot of practice and in games together,” Selanne said. “The game is so much easier when you know each other.”
HILLER’S NIGHT: Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was first off the ice at Wednesday’s skate, indicating he’ll have a chance to avenge his March 12 loss here when the Flames knocked Hiller from the game by scoring three goals on their first five shots against him.
Calgary won that night, 7-2.
WEIGHING REST: As the Ducks (46-18-7, 99 points) work to gain points on Western Conference-leading St. Louis (105 points) and Pacific Division leader San Jose (103 points), allowing rest is not necessarily a luxury at hand.
Yet, the team’s depth is something of a comfort.
Boudreau is expected to give veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin Wednesday off. Beauchemin has played in every game since Dec. 15.
“Not all are 100%, we’re at the stage that they’re not playing unless they are 100%,” Boudreau said. “We feel we’ve had depth all year. The depth is what’s carried us through.
“We have eight defensemen, a couple of them are banged up. So we might rest one today
and one Friday or Saturday.”
His team is starting a stretch of nine games in 15 days, and defenseman Sami Vatanen, 22, said
he’s eager to fill in when needed after playing nearly 20 minutes in Sunday’s 6-2 win over Florida.
“Nine games in 15 days is an awful lot when you have goals in mind, those goals being well-documented,” Boudreau said of the playoffs. “Trying to do both things at the same time – it’s a pretty delicate balancing act.”
Twitter: @latimespugmireCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times