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Blackhawks start Western trip in Anaheim

by John Kreiser

BLACKHAWKS (44-18-6) at DUCKS (31-29-8)

Last 10 -- Chicago 6-3-1; Anaheim 4-5-1

Season series -- It's the fourth and final meeting of the season between the teams. Anaheim has won two of the first three, blanking Chicago 3-0 at the Honda Center on Nov. 7 and splitting a pair on consecutive Sundays in Chicago, winning 3-1 on Jan. 10 after losing 5-2 a week earlier.

Big story -- The Hawks hit the road for the West Coast after one of the most disappointing weekends any team has had in a long time. They were just over two minutes away from what would have been a victory at Philadelphia, only to have Scott Hartnell tie the game with 2:04 remaining and Chris Pronger score with 2.1 seconds left to give the Flyers a 3-2 win. A day later, they blew a 3-0 third-period lead against Washington only to lose 4-3 in overtime.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks -- The Hawks are on their way to their first division title since 1993, but last weekend's back-to-back losses put a damper on what's been a superb season so far.

"Frustrating weekend, considering we got one point instead of four," captain Jonathan Toews said after the loss to Washington. "We've got the most skill in the league, on any team. There's no reason, up 3-0, we can't go out and finish the team off."

Ducks ­ -- Anaheim's playoff hopes are almost gone -- the Ducks trail eighth-place Detroit by 10 points -- but the Ducks are coming off a solid 4-2 victory over San Jose that prevented a season sweep by the Sharks and ended a five-game losing streak.

Not that coach Randy Carlyle was worried about being swept by his Pacific Division rival.

"We've had bigger concerns than that specific statistic at this point," Carlyle said. "We were just worried about winning the next one and the next one. We've proven to ourselves that we can play at a high level if we focus and get our mindset right. The work ethic is not something that's just going to happen."

Who's hot -- Patrick Kane has 5 assists in Chicago's last five games and 4 goals and 16 points in the last 11. Defenseman Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 5 points in five games. … Anaheim's Bobby Ryan has 10 goals and 20 assists in his last 16 home games.

Injury report -- Chicago's defense took a hit on Sunday when Brian Campbell crashed into the end boards after a hit from Alex Ovechkin. He'll miss 7-8 weeks with a broken collarbone and a fractured rib. Marian Hossa missed Sunday's game with an upper-body injury. ... Anaheim's win over San Jose on Sunday came at a price: Teemu Selanne left with a shoulder sprain and Ryan Getzlaf with an injury to his left ankle, the same one he sprained before the Winter Olympics. Both are day-to-day. Forward George Parros, hit in the side of the head by a puck during the morning skate on Sunday, is expected to be available.

Stat pack -- Selanne needs one more goal to reach 600 for his career and two more to tie Jari Kurri for 17th place on the all-time list -- and the all-time lead among NHL players born in Finland. … Chicago has won just twice in its last 16 visits to Anaheim, going 2-12 with a pair of ties over the last nine years. Overall, Chicago is 9-19 with 3 ties at the Honda Center. … The Ducks, who won their last 11 home games before the Olympic break, lost their first four after play resumed before beating San Jose on Sunday.

Puck drop -- The Hawks have been a much better team at home (26-7-3) than on the road (18-11-3), so they'll have to step up their play away from the United Center (seven of the next nine away) if they hope to catch San Jose for the top spot in the West. The Ducks have all but frittered away their playoff hopes by failing to sustain their home dominance after the break, so Carlyle will have to challenge his team to play hard the rest of the way.

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