Ducks vs. Senators
- NHL.com Staff Writer
SENATORS (13-10-4) at DUCKS (10-13-5)
Ottawa 5-4-1; Anaheim 4-4-2
This is the only meeting between the teams this season and just the third since Anaheim defeated Ottawa in five games to win the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. The Ducks also beat the Senators 3-1 at the Honda Center on March 3, 2008, and 4-3 at Scotiabank Place on Oct. 24, 2008.
Every time the Ducks pull themselves off the canvas, they seem to get hit by another body blow. After starting a seven-game homestand by winning four of five, they have now dropped four in a row, blowing third-period leads in the last two. In the process of losing in Dallas on Thursday, they also saw veteran forward Teemu Selanne
go down with a fractured bone in his left hand that will sideline him 4-6 weeks.
Don't expect Ottawa to have any sympathy for what its opponent is going through, as the Senators have hit hard times of their own. It wasn't long ago they were in a three-way battle with Buffalo and Boston for the Northeast Division lead, but that was before a five-game road trip got started. Saturday's 3-2 loss in Phoenix dropped them to 0-3-1 with Sunday's finale looming. Ottawa has lost seven straight overall on the road, dating back to an Oct. 28 win in Florida.
"We knew this was going to be a tough road trip, but we would have liked to start it better," captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
A little over a week ago, Anaheim appeared to be flying high again. Jean-Sebastien Giguere blanked Chicago, ending its eight-game win streak, but it’s been downhill ever since. Phoenix and Los Angeles claimed one-goal victories to end the Ducks' homestand and they let leads slip away in Dallas and Minnesota. On Friday, the Wild rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits and beat the Ducks 5-4 in a shootout.
"It's not the first one," captain Scott Niedermayer said. "It's getting old, that's for sure. You have yourself the lead late in the third, you should be able to get the win and two points in pretty much all of those cases. Once in a while, maybe not."
Milan Michalek is enjoying a breakout season, but Ottawa can hope the other player it got back in the Dany Heatley trade, Jonathan Cheechoo, is starting to find his way. He scored a goal in Los Angeles and followed that up by assisting on both goals against Phoenix.
Anaheim forwards Joffrey Lupul
and Bobby Ryan
each netted a pair of goals against Minnesota. For Lupul, it was his first game in the lineup after missing seven straight due to back spasms.
Senators defenseman Alexandre Picard missed Saturday's game with an upper-body injury and forward Chris Neil is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Goalie Pascal Leclaire (broken jaw) and forward Shean Donovan (knee) are on injured reserve.
In addition to Selanne, the Ducks remain without forwards Ryan Carter
(broken right foot) and Kyle Calder (left eye).
One thing that has been clicking for Anaheim has been its special teams. The Ducks have killed off 24 of the last 26 minor penalties they've taken and have also scored a power-play goal in five of their last six games.
The introduction of the shootout prior to the 2005-06 season ensured every game would end with a winner, so it's a guarantee one of these teams will end its skid on Sunday. At first glance, the Ducks would appear to have the advantage, playing on home ice against a Senators squad that was in action the previous evening.