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Ducks go for 5th in a row vs. struggling Isles

by John Kreiser

ISLANDERS (4-8-2) at DUCKS (8-7-1)

TV -- NHL NETWORK (U.S. and Canada - HD); FSN-West (HD)

Last 10 -- New York 3-7-0; Anaheim 6-4-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the first time this season -- the Ducks come to Long Island on Dec. 16. Anaheim won the only meeting last season by rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory at Honda Center on March 19.

Big story -- Talk about two teams going in opposite directions. The Islanders bring a seven-game losing streak to California, where they'll play three games in four nights. The Ducks come home from San Jose with a four-game winning streak after Tuesday night's 3-2 overtime victory.

Team Scope:

Islanders -- A three-games-in-four-nights swing though California might not be the best thing for a team that's mired in a long losing streak, but Isles coach Scott Gordon is optimistic after good efforts in losses to Ottawa and Philadelphia.

"I think we have something to build on," he told the team's website. "We don't have any points (in our last two games), which is obviously discouraging, but in saying that, we did a lot of things that for me (were positive)."

Ducks -- Anaheim got off to a dreadful start, but the Ducks are over .500 (8-7-1) thanks to a four-game winning streak -- with all four wins by one goal. Though Lubomir Visnovsky got the OT winner to beat the Sharks, the real hero was goaltender Jonas Hiller, who stopped 39 of 41 shots and survived a 23-shot barrage in the third period. He allowed the tying goal to Devin Setoguchi, but got the Ducks into overtime and gave them a chance to win.

"Hiller was outstanding," coach Randy Carlyle said." The best player on the ice. But that's what it takes to win on the road in these tough buildings."

Who's hot -- The Ducks are getting production from some of their big guns. Corey Perry had a goal in San Jose and is 2-4-6 during a five-game points streak. Ryan Getzlaf has 3 goals and 5 points in his last five games. Bobby Ryan has 1 goal and 5 assists during a four-game points streak.

Injury report -- The Islanders recalled forward Jon Sim from AHL Bridgeport in case Zenon Konopka (foot) can't go. They're already without three of their top six defensemen -- Mark Streit (shoulder surgery), Andrew MacDonald (broken hand) and Milan Jurcina (hamstring), as well as top-six forward Kyle Okposo (shoulder surgery). Trent Hunter has been battling a foot injury. … Kyle Chipchura (concussion), Matt Beleskey (concussion), Dan Sexton (broken nose), Joffrey Lupul (blood infection) and Andy Sutton (broken thumb) are out for the Ducks.

Stat pack -- One big reason for the Islanders' struggles has been their play in 5-on-5 situations. New York has scored just a League-low 14 goals at 5-on-5 while allowing 35. But the Ducks have struggled defensively 5-on-5 as well -- they've surrendered 36 goals playing at full and equal strength, tying Atlanta for the most in the NHL. However, the Ducks have scored 28 -- twice as many as the Isles.

Puck drop -- The California trip closes out a brutal stretch for the Islanders in which they play 12 of 15 games on the road. Needless to say, they're looking forward to playing at home for a while.

"You always want to play at home," center Frans Nielsen told the Isles' website. "That's where you feel most comfortable. So yeah, it's going to be nice that it's over soon, but hopefully we can finish up strong here (in California) and get some wins."

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