The Ducks are riding a five-game winning streak as the NHL’s worst power-play team.
They spent time working on their weakness at Thursday’s practice, with star wing Corey Perry and Coach Bruce Boudreau providing the same answer when asked what the fix is: “Score goals.”
“If we knew, we’d fix it,” said Perry, his team with only one goal in 23 man-advantages (4.4%) through six games. “Luckily, we haven’t needed it yet and we have time to work on it. It’s one of those things we’ve been talking about it since Game 3. Hopefully, it comes.
“It’s a matter of being simple: shooting the puck, getting rebounds. Those second chances, a lot of times they end up in the back of the net.”
By comparison, Pittsburgh leads the NHL with 35.3% effectiveness in power plays (six for 17) and Minnesota has scored nine power-play goals.
Boudreau said he’s confident, given his teams’ past top-five success in the category, that the situation will be righted.
“The longer it goes, the harder it gets,” Boudreau said. “You get back to simplistics. There’s no secret recipe. Mark my words, by the end of the season, we’ll be 20%. It’s just a matter of time.”
Boudreau was vocal and heated at times during the practice as his team prepares for a run of 20 games in 37 days that starts with Friday’s Pacific Division game versus Phoenix at Honda Center followed by an eight-game trip opening Tuesday in Toronto.
“When can you and can’t push them? When does rest become more important than punishment? Those two things are an ongoing question,” Boudreau said Thursday concerning the upcoming grind, one day after the Ducks’ shots-on-goal total shrunk from Sunday’s record-setting 56 to 22 in a 3-2 win over Calgary.
Perry said the focus of the practice was “playing fast,” something forward Andrew Cogliano did in nearly barreling into Boudreau, who skipped out of the way to avoid a comic scene at the height of his attention-grabbing sternness.
The Ducks’ goal differential in the five wins with defenseman Francois Beauchemin on the ice is plus-11, a striking stat given his May knee ligament surgery and typical six-to-eight-months recovery period.
“The fact he can be doing what he’s doing is quite a thing,” Boudreau said. “He puts himself in the right place at the right time.”
Beauchemin, 33, still requires extended physical treatments after practices and games, saying he’s “trying to get stronger and get back my power.
“That’s a stat that doesn’t tell everything about the game. As long as I’m comfortable enough to help the team, that’s why I wanted to be out here.”
Where: Honda Center.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830.
Record vs. Coyotes (2013): 1-1-2
Etc.: Right wing Radim Vrbata has a team-best four goals for Phoenix and center Martin Hanzal leads the Coyotes with five assists.