The Chicago Blackhawks haven't fared well in California, and beginning one of the franchise's longest road trips there is probably the last thing they wanted coming out of the All-Star break.
Looking to avoid three straight losses for the first time since their last stay in California, the Blackhawks begin an eight-game, 17-day journey Wednesday against the inconsistent Anaheim Ducks.
The Blackhawks have taken two other eight-game trips in their 82-year history - 1994-95 and 2000-01. The franchise's longest road swing was nine games in 1955-56.
Over the last five seasons, Chicago is 5-17-3 with three ties at Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles, and four of those wins have come against the Kings, who the Blackhawks face Thursday.
Their only win in the last nine tries at the Honda Center was a 4-3 shootout victory on Nov. 17, 2006.
Earlier this season, three straight defeats in those cities derailed what was a successful "circus" road trip in late November, including a 1-0 loss in Anaheim on Nov. 28. The Blackhawks ended their annual trek 3-2-1 - their first non-losing record since 2000-01.
Chicago suffered consecutive losses heading into the break and after going 10-1-1 in December, the Blackhawks are 5-5-1 in January. A cold offense that has averaged 1.75 goals over the past eight games and scored five times in the past four contests can take some of the blame.
"We know what kind of team we are, we showed it in December," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after a 2-0 defeat to St. Louis on Jan. 21. "We want to keep going down that path."
Chicago might not have top rookie Kris Versteeg for Wednesday's game because of a finger injury, but could get defenseman Duncan Keith, who missed four games with concussion-like symptoms, back on the ice.
After a 7-3 victory Tuesday in Phoenix, the Ducks (24-21-5) enter Wednesday on the hunt for consecutive victories for the first time in three weeks.
Anaheim has gone 3-6-0 since winning two straight from Jan. 4-6, and a two-game losing streak has followed each of its victories in that time.
However, the Ducks came out of the break with a strong performance, scoring five of the final six goals in Tuesday's victory to set a season high. Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz each tallied twice and Ryan Getzlaf continued his outstanding play with a pair of assists.
"You watch a lot of the teams that are having that success, they're getting those points and they're getting those goals," said Perry, who has seven goals in the last seven games.
In his last 18 contests, Getzlaf has four goals and 22 points to add to his team-leading 17 goals and 58 points. Rookie Bobby Ryan also scored in his fourth straight game, and Scott Niedermayer has seven assists in his last seven games after picking up a pair on Tuesday.
At home against Chicago, Anaheim is 16-1-2 with two ties dating back to Feb. 1, 1998. Despite dropping two of the last three overall meetings, including a 4-2 road defeat Dec. 3, the Ducks are 13-2-1 versus the Blackhawks since 2003-04.