The Anaheim Ducks could not be more Jekyll and Hyde on the power play if they tried. At home they dominate. On the road? It’s as if they neglected to pack it in their suitcase and take it with them. No other team has that much disparity between their home and road stats.
Overall the Ducks rank 10th in the NHL, but that does not truly reflect how mismatched the home and road stats vary. The Ducks are the best team in the league when they are at the Honda Center, with a 25.8% success rate. Away from home? They are 29th, second to last, with a measly success rate of 12.2%.
The Ducks have had a virtual equal number of chances at home and away (97 and 90 respectively), so that isn’t the problem.
They are certainly missing key personnel, especially Teemu Selanne, who leads the Ducks in power play goals. Selanne, who was hit by a fluke puck that broke his hand, returned to the ice for three games, only to be hit by a fluke puck that broke his jaw in two places. Saku Koivu is also out with a sprained knee, although he has been skating on his own for the past week and has joined the Ducks in Atlanta on their current road trip. It is expected that he will practice with the team for two days and could be ready to go in Atlanta on Tuesday. That should give them a boost.
Yet the Ducks have still managed to get things done at home, even with the same missing personnel.
What is it that they don’t understand about the term “man advantage.” It is supposed to be an advantage, not an opportunity for the hosting team to improve their penalty killing statistics.
Coach Randy Carlyle has described specialty teams as “the game within the game.” If you can be better than the other team on the power play and the penalty kill, you can give yourself a better chance to win the game.
Believe me, a power play goal here and there could make the difference between a win and a loss for the Ducks. 10th in the Western Conference and just three points out of a playoff spot, every single point matters, and those final three points will be the most difficult to make up.
Two games into a six-game road trip and the Ducks still have to face Atlanta, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida. A power play goal here or there could be the difference in those games.
The time to take advantage is now.