The defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks are in the midst of their worst road losing streak to open a season in franchise history. Recording that elusive first victory won't be easy when they take the ice Saturday night in a city where they've had little success.
The Ducks (4-4-1) look to avoid their fifth straight road loss when they visit the Dallas Stars (3-2-2) at American Airlines Center in a matchup of the Pacific Division's top two teams.
Anaheim opened 2006-07 winning 12 of its first 15 games away from the Honda Center, and didn't lose their fourth road game until Dec. 16. This season, however, the Ducks have been outscored 16-7 while going 0-3-1 on the road.
The Stars, meanwhile, are 2-0-1 on home ice this season, and have dominated Anaheim there recently. The Ducks have been outscored 6-2 in losing their last three games in Dallas, and have just two wins in their last 12 there.
Since its inaugural 1993-94 season, the Ducks are just 7-23-3 with two ties all-time at Dallas.
Months after hoisting their first championship, the Ducks have been getting contributions from young players. Anaheim is coming off a 3-1 victory over Nashville on Wednesday as forwards Petteri Wirtanen and Drew Miller netted their first NHL goals. In Monday's 6-3 win over Detroit, Ducks defenseman Kent Huskins also scored his first.
"It's nice to see young players score their first goal," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's a tribute to the scouting staff and our management that we're able to find these young players to come in and make a contribution."
Corey Perry scored his team-leading fifth goal on Wednesday after a career-high 17 in 2006-07, when he had three goals and two assists in eight games against the Stars.
In his second start of an injury-delayed season, goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 28 saves against the Predators to pick up his first win. Giguere underwent surgery Aug. 6 to repair a sports hernia and didn't return to the lineup until last Sunday's 2-0 loss to Minnesota.
"My timing is coming back a little bit," said Giguere, who had a career-high 36 wins last season. "The key thing is to keep pushing, keep practicing hard and not lose my focus."
Giguere went 3-2-1 with a 1.78 goals-against average against the Stars last season, but suffered regulation losses in his only two starts at Dallas, where he's 3-8-0 with a tie in 12 career starts.
The Stars defeated Columbus 3-2 on Wednesday as Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation and had the only shootout goal. Dallas, which had lost each of its previous two games in overtime, needed Brenden Morrow's goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation to tie the score at 2.
"We were going through some struggles," said backup goaltender Mike Smith, who had 33 saves. "Tonight was a big one for our team. It was nice to come from behind and get two points."
Smith started in place of Marty Turco, who has been bothered by a sore leg.
Turco went 2-3-1 with a 3.42 GAA against the Ducks last season. But if he's unable to play, Smith has been outstanding against Anaheim by going 2-0-0 with a 0.43 GAA and a shutout in three career games.
Center Mike Modano has two points this season and is seven points shy of becoming the all-time American-born career scoring leader. He had a goal and an assist in five games against the Ducks last season, and has 22 goals and 49 assists in 61 career games against them.
Dallas has eight points, one behind the division-leading Ducks.
|Mar 30 '08||DAL 2 at ANA 3 - SO||C. Kunitz|
|Mar 19 '08||ANA 2 at DAL 1||T. Bertuzzi|
|Feb 15 '08||DAL 4 at ANA 2||S. Robidas|
|Jan 20 '08||ANA 2 at DAL 5||N. Hagman|
|Jan 15 '08||DAL 2 at ANA 4||R. Getzlaf|
|Nov 21 '07||ANA 1 at DAL 2||N. Hagman|
|Nov 05 '07||DAL 5 at ANA 0||M. Ribeiro|
|Oct 20 '07||ANA 1 at DAL 3||M. Ribeiro|