Mighty Ducks-Panthers Preview
GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (11-14-4-5) at Florida Panthers (11-16-7-2).
TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Unless the Anaheim Mighty Ducks find a way to win on the road, a second
straight trip to the playoffs seems very unlikely.
Anaheim hopes to end a franchise-record, 12-game road winless streak as it
continues a six-game trip against the Florida Panthers.
The Mighty Ducks managed just one goal for the third straight game Monday in
a 2-1 loss at San Jose.
It was the fifth consecutive road loss for Anaheim, 0-7-2-3 away from home
since a 4-2 victory at Washington on Oct. 29.
"We're not a very good team right now," Ducks forward Steve Rucchin said.
"We're in a funk, and we're having a hard time getting out of it, and it's
affecting a lot of guys in the locker room."
Generating offense continues to be the biggest problem for Anaheim.
In 10 games this month, the Mighty Ducks have totaled just 17 goals. Chicago
and Columbus are the only Western Conference teams that have scored fewer goals
than Anaheim's 70.
"We're not giving up many goals but we're not scoring any either," Anaheim
coach Mike Babcock said. "It's not like we don't get our opportunities."
Left wing Vaclav Prospal, signed in the offseason to help fill the void left
by Paul Kariya, has struggled in his first season with the Ducks. He has only
six goals in 34 games and none in his past six contests.
One bright spot of late for Anaheim has been the play of goaltender
Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has allowed five
goals in his last three games after yielding nine in his previous two.
Florida, currently out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, has
just one win in its last six games and is 2-3-3-2 in December.
The Panthers are 2-0-2 in their last four home games, but their road winless
streak reached six with a 5-2 loss at Toronto on Tuesday.
Captain Olli Jokinen was held without a point and the Panthers fell to
2-13-4-1 this season in those games. Florida is 9-3-3-1 when Jokinen records at
least one point.
Jokinen has points in only three of 12 games since Thanksgiving.
"Tight games, we've been getting points, but if our line would produce
more, we would have more wins," Jokinen said. "That's the simple fact. When
the best players are scoring goals and the third or fourth lines are doing
their jobs, then I like our chances."