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The Anaheim Ducks will have to wait a little longer for Teemu Selanne to make his season debut. There's no question they could use his help right now.
The Ducks look to avoid their first six-game losing streak in over two years on Saturday night when they visit the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia Flyers for the first time in almost six years.
|Jonas Hiller is likely to get the start in Philadelphia, but will need more offensive support than the Ducks have been providing lately. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)|
After they were outscored 8-2 in losses to Los Angeles and Minnesota in the first two stops on an eight-game, 15-day road trip, the Ducks (27-21-7) were much better Friday in a 1-0 shootout loss to St. Louis.
"We played more the type of hockey that's going to be required to have success," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We battled in every area of the rink."
While Anaheim improved on defense, it continues to struggle offensively. The Ducks have scored five goals during the 0-4-1 skid, going 0-for-13 on the power play in the last three contests. That lack of offense has contributed to the defending champions' first five-game losing streak since an eight-game slide from Nov. 3-20, 2005.
Getting the recently-signed Selanne back would provide a much-needed boost to Anaheim's sagging offense, but the 37-year-old forward is still rounding into shape. Selanne, the team leader with 48 goals and 94 points last season, isn't expected to play his first game until Tuesday against the New York Islanders at the earliest.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere rebounded with his third shutout of the season Friday after he was pulled in each of his previous two starts. Giguere stopped all 20 shots he faced in regulation and overtime before he was beaten twice in the shootout.
Carlyle likely will call on backup Jonas Hiller to start Saturday. Hiller has won three of his last four starts, allowing only six goals in those games.
|"As a group, if we have a bad game, we want to make sure we rebound," says Mike Knuble (right). (AP Photo/Jason Scott, The Canadian Press) THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Scott|
Philadelphia (28-17-5) entered Thursday's home meeting with the New York Rangers as one of the league's hottest teams, but didn't play like it in a 4-0 loss. The defeat was only the fourth in 16 games (12-3-1) for the Flyers, who are one point ahead of Pittsburgh and two in front of New Jersey in the Atlantic.
Antero Niittymaki allowed four goals on eight shots before he was replaced by Martin Biron 23 seconds into the second period. Niittymaki has lost his last two starts after going 6-0-1 in his previous seven games.
Biron, who stopped all 15 shots he faced Thursday, is expected to make his seventh career start against the Ducks, but his first with the Flyers. He is 6-0-0 with a 1.16 goals-against average and two shutouts versus Anaheim.
Philadelphia has been very successful this season following a loss, going 12-5-2.
"As a group if we have a bad game, we want to make sure we rebound," Flyers right wing Mike Knuble told the team's official Web site. "It does not get any easier against Anaheim. They are defending Cup Champions so it will be a great test for us to see how we do rebound."
Thursday's shutout loss marked the first time in 12 games that the Flyers scored less than three goals, and the first time in that span that the league's best power play failed to convert. Philadelphia is 19-for-58 with the man advantage in those 12 contests.
The Flyers are 3-0-1 in their last four meetings with the Ducks despite playing the last three games on the road. This will be Anaheim's first game in Philadelphia since a 2-1 loss on March 21, 2002.