Ducks’ penalty kill looks like a work in progress

BOSTON — The power play used to be an area of deep concern for the Ducks – as recently as the 2020-21 season it was the worst power play in league history – and they worked hard to correct it last season.

At least they had an efficient penalty kill in recent years. Their PK was a security blanket, something which could be counted on.

Until now.

The slippage began almost immediately after last season’s trade deadline.

The Ducks would be embracing a middle-of-the-pack ranking right now. Their penalty kill is ranked 29th in the league, ahead of only Seattle, Vancouver and Colorado. They’ve allowed six goals on 16 opportunities in four games.

“We’ve got a couple of new defensemen getting used to that,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said after Monday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers. “Up front, we’re running (Derek Grant) as hard as we can. He’s excellent at it. Because our other guys just aren’t quite there – he’s taking on the brunt of the minutes.

“Two of our guys who do know our PK and have got it quite quickly – (Grant) and Frankie (Vatrano), they were both in the penalty box (tonight), which leaves us pretty short there. It’s a spot that we’re looking for mass improvement. That’s our job to keep at it.”

The damage was confined to two games – the Ducks allowed three power-play goals against the Rangers, and gave up three power-play goals in the season-opening win against the Seattle Kraken.

Pride of Jersey

Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz, a native of New Jersey, had about 75 friends and family on hand Tuesday at Prudential Center to take in his first start of the season.

He wound up appearing in all three games on the Ducks’ trip to the New York/New Jersey arena, coming on in relief of John Gibson on Saturday against the Islanders and Monday against the Rangers, playing the third period in both contests.

“It’s something I’ve come to get used to throughout my career,” Stolarz said Tuesday after the Devils’ game, a 4-2 loss. “When I was with the Flyers, there were a couple of hectic instances where I had to go in. It’s part of your job, part of the territory as a backup goalie here. You have to always be ready – that’s why I’m in the tunnel, moving around, always stretching to stay loose.

“Obviously it’s a lot nicer when you start. You can prepare mentally, but at the same time it’s my job to always be ready … just give the guys a fair shake in there.”


Hello, Hampus Lindholm.

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The Ducks will play against Lindholm for the first time since the defenseman was traded to the Bruins in March for three draft picks and defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore.

Lindholm played the first 582 games of his NHL career with the Ducks, who drafted him sixth overall in 2012. One day after the trade, Lindholm secured his future with the Bruins, signing an eight-year, $52-million deal.

Ducks at Boston

When: 4 p.m. Thursday

Where: TD Garden, Boston

TV: Bally Sports SoCal

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