At the start of the third period against the Los Angeles Kings on January 17, coach Bruce Boudreau changed the Ducks lines to help generate more offense. It worked as the Ducks scored one goal and nearly tied the game, if not for Andrew Cogliano’s goal being disallowed.
The Ducks went on to play three games afterward and Boudreau kept the same lines together. The strategy worked for Anaheim as they won three straight, defeating Minnesota, Detroit, and Boston. The Ducks outscored their opponents 13-6 over the three game span as they stay in the middle of the playoff mix in the Pacific Division.
There are a few advantages of the new lines. First, splitting Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry has caused opposing coaches to have to rethink their defensive strategy. They can no longer stack their best defensemen, like some have done in the past, against the Ducks old top line of Getzlaf, Perry, and Rickard Rakell. The Ducks have a more balanced attack with Getzlaf and Perry on separate lines. Since the new line combinations have been used, the Getzlaf line has scored three goals, the Perry and Kesler lines have both scored four goals. Boudreau has also been able to share the ice time between the top three lines.
Here is a more in depth look at the Ducks new lines
Getzlaf now centers Chris Stewart and newly acquired David Perron. This line works partially due to Stewart and Perron playing together in St. Louis. They both played on the Blues briefly during the 2010-11 season and then played the following two seasons together sometimes on the same line. Getzlaf is a good playmaker and having two players that go to the net complements the line well. The concern with this line is that Getzlaf sometimes elects to pass the puck instead of shoot it. Getzlaf shooting the puck more will be beneficial especially with two players that like to hang around the net.
Patrick Maroon is now on a line with Rakell and Perry. With Maroon being swapped in for Getzlaf, Rakell has moved to the center position instead of the wing. Rakell has had a great season with 10 goals and 13 assists. He is a playmaker that can make a great pass or great move to generate scoring chances. Maroon and Perry both will go to the net which can help create rebound goals. The concern with this line is the play of Maroon. He has only scored one goal and registered six assists so far this season, which is well off the pace of the 34 points he put up last season. To his credit he hasn’t seen the type of ice time he did last season when he was on the top line with Perry and Getzlaf. His play has improved on this line and that is the hope going forward.
With Carl Hagelin being traded, the Kesler line now has Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano at the wing positions. This season Hagelin and Cogliano had rotated on this line with Kesler and Silfverberg being together for most of the season. This line has struggled at times early in the season, but has seemed to find a groove lately. Kesler has recorded five points in the last three games(three goals and two assists). Silfverberg also has contributed five points(one goal and four assists). Cogliano has two assists during the three game win streak. The concern with this line is Cogliano’s lack of offensive production. He only has four goals this season, which is his lowest total since coming to Anaheim from Edmonton. His role has been a more defensive one this season, but if this line remains for the rest of the season more goals should be coming his way.
With the trade deadline still about a month away it is difficult to determine how long these lines will stay together. Bob Murray has already made trades bringing in David Perron and Ryan Garbutt. The recent suspension of Shawn Horcoff for 20 games may increase the chances that Murray tries to acquire another forward. For now the Ducks should keep these three lines as the results have been a balanced attack and a three game winning streak.