The Ducks' four-game road trip takes them to South Florida, where tonight they will face the Panthers at BB&T Center. Anaheim is coming off a 6-2 victory two nights ago at Philadelphia, and enter tonight's game outscoring their opponents 12-4 over the past two games (both 6-2 wins). In fact, the Ducks have scored six goals in consecutive games for the first time since 6-2 triumphs vs. Vancouver and Los Angeles from April 2-4, 2006.
Winners of two in a row, Anaheim is in the midst of playing seven consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents. The Ducks posted a 16-10-6 record against the East last season, including a 9-4-3 mark vs. the Atlantic Division and a 7-6-3 record vs. the Metropolitan Division.
Tonight's contest opens a two-game season series between the Ducks and Panthers, with Anaheim owning a 13-14-4 all-time record against Florida (6-6-3 on the road). Veteran center Antoine Vermette has 18 points (10g/8a) in 28 career games against the Panthers, tops among active Ducks. The season series will conclude in less than a month when the series shifts to Honda Center on Sunday, November 19.
Quick starts have been key for the Ducks in their past two games, and they will look for a balanced attack once more in this one tonight. Eleven Ducks recorded points in the win over the Flyers, including multi-point efforts from Corey Perry (two assists), Ryan Getzlaf (goal and an assist) and Ondrej Kase (two goals).
"We're getting better," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Our team play was better. We went into [the Flyers] game and had a decent start. We didn't display it on the shot clock, but we felt we had control of the puck and did a lot of good things. We were hard to defend in the offensive zone."
The Ducks will be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa for an "extended period of time" with a left hand injury, Carlyle revealed earlier today. The 36-year-old d-man had appeared in seven of the club's eight games this season, but will miss the remainder of the four-game road trip.
Tonight marks the opener of a five-game homestand for the Panthers, but they enter the contest on the heels of a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Montreal scored three times in a span of 95 seconds in the second period to end their dreadful seven-game losing streak. For the Panthers, the loss marked their fourth defeat in their past five games.
Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in scoring with eight points (3g/5a) in eight games. Vincent Trocheck (3g/4a), Evgenii Dadonov (2g/5a) and Aleksander Barkov (2g/5a) rank tied for second, all with seven points.