Ducks ready to face former teammates as they visit Leafs
Wednesday, 01.19.2011 / 8:10 PM
DUCKS (26-19-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (18-22-5)
TV: PRIME (HD), SNET-O (HD)
Last 10: Anaheim 8-2-0; Toronto 5-4-1
Season series: This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 season between these teams. They last met on Oct. 26, 2009, when Toronto snapped an eight-game losing streak to start the season with a 6-3 victory in Anaheim.
Big story: Jean-Sebastien Giguere is expected to start in goal for the Maple Leafs -- he won a Conn Smythe in 2003 and a Stanley Cup in 2007 for the Ducks before last season's trade between these teams, which also involved forward Jason Blake. The forward returns to the Air Canada Centre for the first time to face his old teammates.
"Obviously, we had a long road with Jiggy," Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne said. "He did so much for our hockey club for so many years. It's going to be a little different to play against him. In the game, obviously you try not to think about that too much.
"One thing for sure -- there are no secrets either way. He knows where I'm going to shoot, and I know his style, too. It's going to be interesting."
The Ducks started a stretch that will see them play 10 of 12 on the road by picking up a 2-1 shootout win over the Senators on Tuesday. It gave Anaheim wins in eight of its last 10 games, as the club looks to continue a playoff push in the coming months. All-Star goalie Jonas Hiller
turned in a stellar performance at Ottawa by making 39 saves and then stopping all three Ottawa attempts in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Bobby Ryan
scored on Anaheim's second shot to win it.
"I don't know if he earned a star tonight but he certainly won a game," Ryan said of Hiller. "We got outplayed in a lot of aspects of that game and he did his job. It was incredible."
One week ago it appeared Toronto might be ready to go on a second-half surge and challenge for a playoff spot, but after the Maple Leafs put together four straight wins -- the last three away from home -- they've gone 0-2-1 over the next three, culminating in an embarrassing 7-0 loss to the Rangers in New York on Wednesday. The Leafs gave up four goals in the first period alone, and four goals on the night to Rangers' sniper Marian Gaborik.
"That's hockey. It happens," said another former Duck Francois Beauchemin. "Sometimes it's tough. You got to be ready to battle. When you make a mistake, you got to regroup. Instead of picking ourselves up, we kind of let down and stopped working.
Ryan has 6 goals and 9 points in his last six games for the Ducks, while Corey Perry
has 3 goals and 5 points in his last four games. Hiller picked up his 23rd win against the Senators, tied for the NHL lead, and improved his save percentage to .927, third in the league.
Anaheim forwards Ryan Getzlaf
(nasal/sinus fractures) and Aaron Voros
(broken orbital bone) are on injured reserve. … Toronto forward Fredrik Sjostrom is day-to-day with a charley horse, while forward John Mitchell (knee) is on injured reserve. Forward Mike Brown is finishing up a three-game suspension.
Hiller also leads the league in shots faced (1,348) and saves (1,250), as the Ducks allow 34.2 shots per game, the second-highest average behind the 34.4 given up by the Thrashers. … Mikhail Grabovski leads the Maple Leafs in goals (18), power-play goals (7) and plus-minus (plus-3).
Giguere was slated to get Wednesday off but ended up playing the final 6:39 of the first period after starter Jonas Gustavsson was victimized for three goals in a span of less than three minutes. Giguere allowed a goal on three shots before Gustavsson returned at the start of the second and finished out the game.