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After opening the season with the best start in NHL history, the Anaheim Ducks have hit their first slump of the season.
The Ducks look to get back on track Friday against a team they have dominated of late, hoping to extend their winning streak over the Chicago Blackhawks to eight games as they meet at the Honda Center.
Anaheim (13-2-4) set an NHL record by getting at least one point in its first 16 games, but has dropped two of its last three. The Ducks lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4 on Wednesday and have been outscored 10-4 in their last two losses.
They allowed three power-play goals after killing off 14 consecutive penalties in their last five games.
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed goals on five of his first 11 shots, and was benched with 3:34 left in the first period.
"It was one of those games," said Giguere, who's goals-against average increased from 1.98 to 2.28 after Wednesday's defeat. "The floodgates just started to open and I couldn't stop them."
Although Giguere struggled his last time out, he has been exceptional lifetime against the Blackhawks (6-9-2). The 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has won eight of his last nine over Chicago, and is 12-4 with two ties and a 2.24 GAA in his career against them.
The Ducks beat the Blackhawks 3-0 on Oct. 28, and have outscored them 26-11 during their seven-game winning streak. They have killed 35-of-37 power-play opportunities in those games, including 18 straight in the last four games.
Anaheim has not lost to Chicago at home since Feb. 7, 2001, notching seven wins with two ties in that span.
The Ducks are 8-1-3 at the Honda Center, and Wednesday's defeat was their first regulation loss at home this season.
Chris Kunitz scored his team-high ninth goal Wednesday, and has scored goals in four of his last five games. Ducks center Andy McDonald had a power-play goal against the Flyers, and has three goals and six assists in a seven-game points streak against Chicago.
The Blackhawks lost 3-2 in a shootout Thursday to the Phoenix Coyotes, ending their modest two-game win streak. They allowed their first power-play goal this month in the loss, and have killed 31-of-32 power-play chances in five November games.
Brian Boucher made 25 saves, but allowed the Coyotes to score on each of their shootout attempts.
"This was a game I certainly wanted and it was in my hands," said Boucher, who has failed to stop any of the four shootout goals he's faced this season. "I think we're trying to play right now to keep ourselves in hockey games by playing well defensively. It may be a low-scoring affair, there may be some games where it gets our of hands, but our penalty kill has been good lately and it's kept the scores down."
Boucher likely will return to his role of backup with Nikolai Khabibulin expected to start in this game. Khabibulin, who is 4-2 with a 3.36 GAA this season, has been sidelined with a broken finger suffered Oct. 21 against St. Louis.
He has lost four straight games to the Ducks and is 10-10 with two ties, two shutouts and a 2.49 GAA lifetime versus Anaheim.
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