1. The penalty killing is pretty good
After killing off four penalties in Tuesday’s win against the Calgary Flames, the Ducks have gone four games and 13 chances since allowing a power-play goal. That streak has lifted the team’s penalty-kill unit from the middle of the pack in the NHL into the league’s top eight in efficiency. As for the Ducks’ other special team, the power play? Well, not so special. In fact, the Ducks never skated with a man advantage Tuesday -- not that it would have mattered since the team has scored on the power play in just one of its last seven games.
2. Tick … tick ... tick. Ducks getting closer to a 60-minute game.
Coach Bruce Boudreau has long lamented the fact that periodic letdowns have kept his team from putting together a full 60-minute game this season. But the Ducks are getting closer. “It was about 53 minutes today,” Matt Beleskey said after Tuesday’s win. Well, almost. Call it 49 with the Ducks giving up two goals in the final 11 minutes to turn what had been a rout into a nail-biter. And if not for video replay ruling, the game would have gone to overtime. But the officials disallowed a goal by Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau with three minutes to play, correctly ruling that the puck had been kicked into the net. Last week in Calgary the Ducks gave up three third-period goals, letting a 2-0 lead escape in a game they eventually lost in a shootout. “Hopefully it’s a learning experience for us that, down the road, will pay off,” Boudreau said.
3. The scoring is becoming spread out
Last season the Ducks’ offense was concentrated mainly on the sticks of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who combined for 74 goals. Lately, however, the team has received important contributions from some unexpected sources. With his first-period goal Tuesday, Beleskey has three goals in his last four games and 10 for the season, two off the team lead and one off his career high. And with a highlight-reel goal in the closing seconds of the second period, Kyle Palmieri has scored three times in five games since making his injury-delayed season debut 10 days ago.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” said Beleskey, whose goal deflected in off the skate of Calgary defenseman Kris Russell. “Sometimes you can’t buy a goal. Today I got one off the foot. I’m just trying to get it to the net.”
Palmieri’s goal, which proved to be the game-winner, was the result of a determined individual effort during a line change. He took the puck from center ice to the end boards where he was pinned to the glass by a Calgary defender, but managed to spin away and push the puck into the net as he was falling to the ice. That added Palmieri’s name to a growing list: In their 11 regulation or overtime wins this season, the Ducks’ deciding goal has been scored by a different player each time.
4. The infirmary is still busy
The Ducks finished the game with five defenseman after losing Francois Beauchemin for the third period to what’s being called an upper-body injury. That could leave the Ducks short on the blue line if Clayton Stoner’s brush with the mumps keeps him out of the team’s next game Friday.