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TIME: Monday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are getting nothing from their last line of defense.
The Mighty Ducks, the defending Western Conference champions, are in serious danger of missing the playoffs this season in part because of shaky goaltending.
They'll hope for a better effort from their goalie when they take on the Edmonton Oilers at the Skyreach Centre.
Thanks to tremendous work in net from eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Ducks upset conference powers Detroit and Dallas in the early rounds of last season's playoffs before beating upstart Minnesota in four games to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Though they ended up losing in seven games to New Jersey in the finals, the Ducks had cemented their reputation as an excellent defensive team that had a premier goaltender in Giguere.
That's hardly been the case this season.
Giguere, who finished last season's playoffs with 15 wins, a 1.62 goals-against average and five shutouts, signed a four-year deal prior to training camp that pays him nearly $5 million annually. Thus far, it hasn't worked out too well for Anaheim.
The Ducks sit 12 points behind eighth-place St. Louis with 29 games to go. Giguere has been a major disappointment, winning just seven of 31 starts with a mediocre 2.82 GAA through January. Anaheim is 14th in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 144 goals.
Prior to allowing three goals on 14 shots in relief of an equally ineffective Martin Gerber in Sunday's 6-4 loss to Calgary, Giguere had not played since a 4-2 loss at Los Angeles on Jan. 24.
"The bottom line is when you score four goals, you have to win the hockey game," Ducks coach Mike Babcock said. "We have to find a way to tighten up defensively because you can't give up six goals and win in this league."
The Ducks went just 3-7-4-1 in January, and have not had a winning month this season.
"That's how it's gone all season for us, we've been very inconsistent," Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney said.
The Oilers, who are nine points out of a playoff spot with 29 games left, are coming in off a terrible loss as they blew a one-goal lead with 1:10 to play before losing 4-3 to Los Angeles on Saturday.
"We went from being so high to so low," Georges Laraque said. "That's a gift we gave them. We gave them two points."
Edmonton finished January 7-7-1-1, but has dropped four of five.
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