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After struggling to score over the last two weeks, the Anaheim Ducks are finally showing some signs of offense on their club-record, nine-game road trip.
The defending Stanley Cup champions look to get another strong offensive effort on Friday night when they try for their first win in New Jersey in a dozen years as their swing continues against the Devils
Ducks center Samuel Pahlsson could be in the lineup tonight after being out since Dec. 22 with an abdominal injury.
According to Ducks head coach Randy Carlye, Pahlsson was available for last night’s game, but instead worked out extra following the morning skate and didn’t play. Pahlsson said the plan was for him to play tonight against
"Unless something happens, that's the plan," Pahlsson said. "I'm feeling really good. "I feel I'm moving better and I finally got that sharp pain that was in my abdomen gone," he said. "So that's good. It should be fine."
Anaheim (28-22-7) defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 on Thursday, two days after beating the New York Islanders 3-0. The Ducks' recent surge is a step in the right direction for a team that is averaging only 2.40 goals per game - third-fewest in the NHL - and had scored only five times during a season-high six-game losing streak preceding this trip.
"It's much easier to win when you get that many goals," Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "It's never fun not to score. I'm sure the guys are having a lot more fun now."
Giguere stopped 32 shots on Thursday after posting shutouts his previous two starts - including a 1-0 shootout loss to St. Louis last Friday.
Against the Rangers, Corey Perry scored his team-leading 28th goal and Chris Kunitz added his 16th just 1:27 later to break open a 1-all game in the second period. Todd Bertuzzi finished the scoring midway through the third period as Anaheim had its best offensive game since a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Jan. 18.
The Ducks improved to 2-3-1 on their road trip - which continues Sunday in Detroit and ends Tuesday in Colorado - to move into a second-place tie with San Jose in the Pacific Division.
"We still have a lot of road trip left," forward Ryan Getzlaf said of Anaheim, which is 13-15-2 on the road this season. "We need to get as many points as we can."
Anaheim continues its swing with its first trip to the Prudential Center, and first to New Jersey in the regular season since a 3-2 overtime loss on Nov. 12, 2002. The Ducks lost Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final at the Devils' former home, Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands.
Teemu Selanne, who rejoined Anaheim on Tuesday after sitting out the first 56 games while contemplating retirement, had a goal and an assist in the Ducks' last win in New Jersey, where Anaheim is 1-6-1 all-time.
The Ducks and Devils last met on Nov. 24, 2006 at the Honda Center, and Anaheim skated to a 4-2 victory behind two goals from Todd Marchant. Giguere made 23 saves, and is 2-1-0 with one tie and a 2.42 goals-against average lifetime against them.
New Jersey (30-20-4) is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Wednesday after having won its previous two games. The Devils are just one point behind Atlantic Division co-leaders Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday, New Jersey trailed 2-0 midway through the second period, before getting goals by Karel Rachunek and Mike Mottau.
"I didn't think we played that bad," said Martin Brodeur, who finished with 20 saves. "For the most part they didn't get a lot of great chances."
Brodeur, who made 33 saves in last season's loss to the Ducks, is 11-5-0 with a tie, two shutouts and a 1.91 GAA all-time against them. He's 7-1-0 with two shutouts and a 1.43 GAA all-time against Anaheim while playing in New Jersey.
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