ANAHEIM, Calif. — With just 10 goals in their last six games, the Anaheim Ducks’ once-potent offense has dried up.
While their 127 goals trail only the Chicago Blackhawks for most goals scored in the Western Conference, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau is looking for solutions to the team’s scoring woes as the regular season winds down and the Ducks get primed for the playoffs.
“It’s tough to explain when guys aren’t scoring,” said Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano. “There really is no answer. You just got to find a way to get through it. You just have to keep shooting and good things will happen. Right now pucks are just not going in for us.”
Though the Ducks’ top line is anchored by Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, Boudreau has inserted Kyle Palmieri for now, to play on the left side. The bigger issue facing Boudreau is to find another scoring trio to take the pressure off the top line and provide some additional offense.
Boudreau had a second line of Saku Koivu, flanked by Bobby Ryan and Cogliano to start Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jacets, and while they were the Ducks best line for two periods, Boudreau hit the reset button and tried different combinations to try and jump-start the Ducks, who eventually lost in overtime.
“Right now he’s just trying to find the right combinations to get some offense. It has been kind of a struggle for us to find a way to score goals,” Cogliano said. “We are at a stage where we need to take a deep breath and get back to what we were doing before that made us successful.”
While the Ducks have already punched their ticket into the playoffs, they still have yet to firmly lock down first place in the Pacific Division and if they aren’t careful, it is still mathematically possible for the Vancouver Canucks to overtake them as the second seed in the Western Conference. The Ducks have resembled a team of late that has been playing on cruise control waiting for the “second season” to get under way.
“Deep down I hope that is the case. If we are playing as good as we can possibly play, then we are not at the same level as the other teams,” Boudreau said.
Anaheim now heads off to Western Canada with a chance to get back on track and re-focused and energized for the playoffs.
Following Friday’s game against Calgary, the Ducks play back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers (Sunday and Monday) before finishing out the trip with a stop in Vancouver.
“This is a good time to go on the road. We are going to Canada where it is a good hockey atmosphere and get ready,” Cogliano said. “It is a good time for a bonding trip and get us ready for the playoffs.”
Added Boudreau: “I wish I had a crystal ball to see if it was a good time or not. To be honest, I don’t care if we play in Timbuktu. We’ve got to win some games.”.
If the Ducks don’t find their game soon they could find themselves with an early playoff exit, where Timbuktu may be the only place where they can find a game, and a team to beat.