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Ducks and Blackhawks try to end slumps

by Sean McCullen

DUCKS (18-7-5) at BLACKHAWKS (20-6-4)


Last 10: Anaheim 3-3-4; Chicago 7-3-0

Season series: This is the first of three games. The Anaheim Ducks were 3-0-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13 and have won four straight against Chicago going back to 2011-12.

Big story: This game features two of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks lead the West with 44 points. Anaheim has 41 points, good for third in the conference.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau discussed his team's success against Chicago last season.

"Don't ever start thinking that's going to be an easy game because we had some success against them last year. They are the Stanley Cup champions and with the second fewest losses in the League and 20 wins and standing first place overall … so that's not going to be easy at all," he said.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim has not been playing like the Stanley Cup contender it looked like early in the season. The Ducks have dropped three of four in the past 10 days, including a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

Boudreau was not happy with his team's inability to control the flow of the game against the Kings.

"We never had the puck," he said. "They had the puck all the time and were doing all the shooting. … It's the work ethic; the work ethic has got get a lot better."

The Ducks worked on their one-on-one skills in practice Wednesday before flying to Chicago.

"I think that's the thing we've wanted to work on is our compete level and winning battles. I think we didn't win as many as we wanted to [against the Kings]," forward Nick Bonino said. "The more you do it in practice, hopefully the more you do it in games."

Blackhawks: Chicago has lost two games in a row, each by a 4-3 score.

Before the consecutive losses to the Dallas Stars at United Center and Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, Chicago went 6-1-0 on a seven-game road trip.

Against the Wild, the Blackhawks scored three straight goals to overcome a 2-0 lead, only to allow Minnesota to score twice in the final six minutes. Marco Scandella scored the game-winner with 1:48 remaining.

"Six minutes to go with a one-goal lead, generally that's our bread and butter. Tonight we didn't get it done," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had the momentum, but it was one of those games where the momentum turned quickly in their favor. We're still tied. Let's get it to overtime and see what happens, but they got the break and we got nothing."

Who's hot: Ducks left wing Dustin Penner has a five-game point streak (five goals, two assists). … Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp has three goals his past five games and six in 10. Right wing Patrick Kane has one goal and four assists during a three-game point streak.

Injury report: Chicago forwards Andrew Shaw (upper body), Michal Handzus (illness) and Bryan Bickell (lower body) are day-to-day. None of the three played in Minnesota. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) is on injured reserve. … Anaheim center Mathieu Perreault (lower body) did not make the trip and will miss at least two games. Perreault, who has not scored in 15 games, has been dealing with the injury for a while now, a team official told the Los Angeles Times. Perreault joins forward Jakob Silfverberg (broken hand), goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body) and defensemen Luca Sbisa (hand) and Francois Beauchemin (upper body) on IR. Defenseman Sheldon Souray (wrist) has not played this season.

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