A byproduct of the NHL’s crackdown on obstruction has been the numerous power-play opportunities teams have had in the first few exhibition games.
The Mighty Ducks have had their share, but the early returns were a work in progress until Friday night, when they scored four times with the man advantage against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.
Until then, the power play was ailing as they converted only one of 18 tries in losses to the Kings and San Jose. With the increase in the number of penalties, finding a consistent power-play attack figures to be the top priority when the regular season starts in 11 days.
“We want to get really good at it because that’s how we’re going to win a lot of games,” forward Teemu Selanne said Friday. “But nothing is going to happen automatically.”
Duck Coach Randy Carlyle found one solution after watching his team pass around the perimeter too many times without aiming the puck toward the net.
“The one thing you have to establish is that you’re prepared to shoot the puck,” Carlyle said.
There was improvement on that front Friday against Phoenix as they scored twice in their first four tries with the man advantage. Carlyle said success on the power play is more than putting bodies in front of the net, adding that finding the right combination will be essential.
“Those are the things that, as you go forward and as we play with the same group, you hope to become more consistent,” he said.
Selanne scored the game-winning goal with 7:39 remaining and Curtis Glencross added an empty-net goal as the Ducks got their first exhibition victory with a 5-3 decision over Phoenix, denying Wayne Gretzky his first win as the Coyotes’ coach.
Sergei Fedorov tied the score midway through the third period after Phoenix had taken a 3-2 lead on Tyson Nash’s short-handed goal. Joffrey Lupul and Aaron Rome also had power-play goals for the Ducks.