Through the first six games of the season, the Anaheim Ducks’ special teams weren’t too special as the team failed on its first 14 opportunities.
The streak reached 0-for-16 Wednesday before the Ducks finally capitalized with the man advantage, and they went on to post a 5-2 victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
Adam Henrique scored twice and Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and two assists for Anaheim, which hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf ended the power drought, scoring the goal that gave the Ducks their first lead at 3-2 midway through the second period.
“We put a lot of work into (the power play) the last couple of days,” Getzlaf told reporters after the game. “It was nice to get rewarded. Even early in the game, we had some good movement, some good shots. Like I said, it was nice to get rewarded.”
The Ducks also limited the Sabres’ league-leading power play to a 1-for-7 night.
“I would have liked to have seen us get a few more power plays than penalty kills,” Getzlaf said, “but ultimately I thought we did a good job of sticking up for one another without getting carried away and letting the game get out of hand.”
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins praised his team’s physical play.
“We’ve got to do that, that’s who we are here,” Eakins said. “We want to play with speed. We want to play a fast game. But when you come into our building, we want you leaving with a few bruises.”
The Hurricanes are coming off a 5-2 loss in San Jose on Wednesday. The special teams were also key in that game, as the Sharks were 2-for-4 with the man advantage while the Hurricanes failed on all four attempts and have gone scoreless in 13 power-play opportunities over their past four games.
“Specialty teams was off today,” said winger Erik Haula, who scored one of Carolina’s goals.
“We took a couple offensive-zone penalties. They have a good power play, and they put the puck in the net. We got chances, and it just wasn’t there. That’s on me and the rest of the guys on the power play.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour was more direct.
“Our special teams were terrible,” Brind’Amour said. “Other than that, we were pretty fine.”
Dougie Hamilton scored the other Carolina goal. It was his fifth of the season, which leads all NHL defensemen entering play Thursday.
“Teams have pre-scouted. We scored on the same play all of our goals,” Hamilton said. “Other people in the league aren’t stupid. They’re going to know what to take away, and we have to look for new opportunities to score.”
The Hurricanes also have to find ways to stay out of the penalty box. They’ve averaging a league-worst 4.75 minor penalties per game.
“They’re calling lots of things. That’s just how it is now. We’ve got to kill them, though. We’ve got to do a better job,” Brind’Amour said.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to kill them, and we didn’t. When we get our power play, we’ve got to make it count, and we didn’t. There’s the game.”
–Field Level Media