The Anaheim Ducks probably could not have imagined getting off to a much better start. The Philadelphia Flyers likely could not have pictured a worse one.
In a matchup between the best team in the Western Conference and worst in the East, Anaheim can remain the league's only team without a regulation home loss on Wednesday while handing Philadelphia the longest losing streak in its history.
The Ducks (13-1-4) set an NHL record by playing their first 16 games without losing in regulation. That streak ended Friday with a 3-0 loss at Calgary, but it didn't take long for Anaheim to bounce back because the team beat Minnesota 3-2 on Sunday.
"Obviously you can't win them all and you can't be successful all the time," said Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 24 saves against the Wild. "But when you're not, it's important to come back the next game and play hard.
"It was important to start this homestand on the right foot and we responded very well."
The Ducks have gone 8-0-3 at home this season, losing only once in their last seven games at the Honda Center. They've failed to score at least three goals just twice in 11 home games.
The Flyers (3-12-2) have the worst road record in the NHL at 1-7-0, and have been outscored 26-9 during their current six-game slide away from home. Their only road win came against the New York Rangers on Oct. 10.
Philadelphia hasn't won at any venue this month, dropping six straight since beating Chicago 3-0 on Oct. 30, to match the worst slide in franchise history. The team previously lost six in a row three times, most recently in 1994.
This skid has entrenched the Flyers at the bottom of the East standings, four points worse than any other club in the conference.
"I'm very frustrated with this," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We're not going away from the message. We need to come out and take charge and dictate hockey games from the drop of the puck."
Stevens is 2-6-1 since taking over on Oct. 22 for Ken Hitchcock, who was fired on the same day general manager Bobby Clarke resigned.
Clarke's replacement, Paul Holmgren, made his first major move on Monday by acquiring rugged winger Todd Fedoruk from the Ducks for a fourth-round pick and future considerations.
"He has that emotion, intensity, determination and leadership that we look for in a player," Holmgren said of Fedoruk, who played four seasons with Philadelphia before being traded in 2005.
That deal was part of a busy Monday for the Ducks. They also acquired forward George Parros from Colorado for a second-round pick, and dealt winger Stanislav Chistov to Boston for a third-round pick.
"If I was going to get traded to any team, Anaheim definitely stands out in my mind," said Parros, a second-year player who has appeared in only 57 NHL games.
The change of fortune for these teams is particularly astonishing when considering the Flyers haven't missed the playoffs since 1993-94 and the Ducks have qualified only four times in their 14-year history.
Giguere has keyed Anaheim's hot start, going 10-0-4 with a 1.98 goals-against average. He hasn't lost in his last four appearances, stopping all but four of the 77 shots he's faced.
Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki has failed to follow up on a promising rookie season. He's allowed at least three goals in four consecutive starts and has won only once in his last 11 starts.
Former starter Robert Esche has been even worse, going 1-3-0 with a 5.32 GAA.
|AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.|