The Anaheim Ducks have rolled through opponents lately. It shouldn't be too hard for them to continue that trend against the Chicago Blackhawks - a team they've beaten in 11 of the last 12 meetings.
|Andrew Abbett (left), Mathieu Schneider, Kent Huskins and Chris Kunitz have had a lot to celebrate lately, going 8-1-0 in their last nine games. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
The surging Ducks look to win for the ninth time in 10 games and continue their recent dominance of the Blackhawks as the teams meet on Sunday at the Honda Center.
Anaheim (35-23-7) is 8-1-0 since it dropped six straight games from Jan. 20-Feb. 2. Samuel Pahlsson, playing in his sixth straight contest following a 21-game absence because of an abdominal injury, scored 32 seconds into overtime to lift the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over St. Louis on Friday night.
"It's big for us, we got two more points and those points are big for us," Pahlsson said of the Ducks, who are six points behind Dallas for the Pacific Division lead.
Teemu Selanne also scored for Anaheim, which is 3-1-0 on its season-high, seven-game homestand.
"We are really playing our system very well, we're limiting other teams' chances," defenseman Mathieu Schneider said. "The cliche - just get the pucks at the net and drive the net - really pays off for us. We have a big grinding team and a lot of nights we have success wearing teams down."
Selanne, who led Anaheim with 48 goals and 94 points last season, has contributed three goals and three assists in nine games since returning to the team after missing the first four months contemplating retirement.
Anaheim has found success with Selanne back in the lineup, but the club has also received a significant boost from Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The goaltender is 7-1-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average in his last eight starts.
Giguere has also been dominant at home, going 8-2-0 with a 1.79 GAA in his last 10 starts at the Honda Center, where the Ducks have won 10 of their last 12. One of those victories came against Chicago (29-26-2) on Jan. 4 in the teams' most recent matchup.
While Giguere did not play in that game, he has won five straight over the Blackhawks dating to March 2003, and is 13-4-0 with two ties and a 2.28 GAA in 20 lifetime games against them.
Anaheim, which has won both games between the teams this season, four straight overall and is 11-0-1 against Chicago since Nov. 28, 2003.
The Blackhawks are trying to sweep their two-game road wing after a 6-5 overtime victory at Los Angeles on Saturday. Patrick Sharp scored his 29th goal 1:48 into the extra period for Chicago, which squandered a four-goal lead before winning for the sixth time in its last eight games.
"Hockey games are never over. If you give a team the chance to come back, they're going to take it," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "That is a team that can score goals. We talked about that before the game. We executed our game, protected the puck and didn't turn it over. We just didn't have good coverage."
Sharp, who also provided an assist in Saturday's win, has a goal in each meeting with the Ducks this season and has four goals and an assist in eight career games against the defending Stanley Cup champions.