The last time the Anaheim Ducks were shut out in consecutive games, they followed with their most impressive offensive stretch of the season.
Accomplishing the feat again, however, might be difficult without their leading goal scorer in the lineup.
|Teemu Selanne hasn't scored in three games and his team hasn't scored in more than two. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Playing without Corey Perry, the Ducks (38-25-7) hope to avoid another shutout loss as they host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night at the Honda Center.
Perry was enjoying the best season of his three-year career with 29 goals and 54 points, but he will miss the next six weeks after undergoing surgery Friday for a lacerated tendon above his right knee. He suffered the injury Thursday in a 1-0 loss to Colorado.
"Perry has been a big part of this team the whole year and he's going to be missed," Anaheim's Teemu Selanne said. "But a lot of guys are going to have to take more responsibility to fill that hole."
Losing Perry is the latest setback for the struggling Ducks, who last scored in the third period of a 3-1 win over Ottawa on Monday - a span of 130 minutes, 1 second.
"We have played six periods and haven't scored a goal," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, whose team also suffered a 3-0 defeat in Chicago on Wednesday that ended a six-game winning streak. "You can't continually accept that."
Anaheim has been blanked in three straight games just once in its 14-year history from March 6-9, 1994.
The Ducks were previously shut out in back-to-back games on Feb. 1-2, but then won 11 of their next 12, outscoring their opponents 36-19. Selanne returned to the team on Feb. 5 after considering retirement, and has provided a spark with seven goals and five assists in 14 games.
However, Selanne, who led the defending Stanley Cup champions with 48 goals and 94 points last season, has not registered a point in his last three contests.
If Selanne is to rediscover his scoring touch, he'll need to do so against surging Montreal (38-22-9), which has won five of its last six including a 5-2 victory in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Guillaume Latendresse had a goal and an assist, while backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves in his first start of the season to help the Canadiens improve to 9-3-0 since Feb. 13.
The Canadiens start play atop the Northeast Division, and are within one point of East-leading New Jersey. With a victory over Anaheim, Montreal would overtake the Devils for the conference lead heading into their matchup on Tuesday.
Montreal, which owns 24 Stanley Cup championships, seeks to return to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons after missing them in 2006-07.
"I don't think you're going to see teams like the Canadiens and (New York) Islanders win four Stanley Cups in a row, but I can feel we're building something here and we believe in our system," said Patrice Brisebois, who had a goal against Los Angeles. "We haven't won anything yet, but we're doing great."
The Canadiens have won two of the first three contests on their four-game road trip, and have wins in five of their last six away from Montreal. They are among the best road teams in the NHL, and only San Jose has more victories away from its home ice (23).
The Canadiens are 9-6-0 with two ties in the all-time series with the Ducks, who won the most recent meeting, 5-3 in Montreal on Dec. 10. 2005.