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Ducks, Oilers looking to halt losing streaks

by Brian Hunter
OILERS (4-10-4) at DUCKS (10-9-3)


Last 10:
Edmonton 2-6-2; Anaheim 6-2-2

Season series:
First of four meetings this season. Anaheim swept in 2009-10 by a combined 20-9 score. George Parros scored 4 goals all season -- three of them came against Edmonton, tying him with teammates Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan for tops in the series.

Big story: The Ducks' record over their last 10 games is a little deceiving -- they've actually lost four in a row (two in overtime) since starting the month of November with a six-game winning streak. The Oilers may turn out to be the perfect remedy -- they're 0-4-2 over their last six and sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Team Scope:

All of 34.4 seconds separated Edmonton from what would have been a satisfying home win over Phoenix on Friday, but with the way things have gone lately it wasn't that stunning when Wojtek Wolski scored with that much time showing on the clock and Eric Belanger tallied the decisive shootout goal as the Coyotes came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to hand the Oilers a 4-3 defeat. Still, it was a better overall effort following blowout losses against the Hurricanes and Blackhawks.

"Obviously we'd like to come out with a win. It's nice to get a point, but we want to win games and I think we took a lot of pretty big steps forward," goalie Devan Dubnyk said. "We were disciplined for the entire game and did a lot of good things system-wise, so I think if we play like that, we'll probably end up with two points more often than not."

The effort wasn't lacking on Anaheim's part either in a 4-3 loss to Columbus on Friday. The Ducks pumped 50 shots on goal only to be turned aside 47 times by Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets. Saku Koivu's power-play goal and Ryan's shorthanded tally in the first 5:01 of the second period gave them a brief 2-1 lead, but Chris Clark scored just 25 seconds after Ryan to start a barrage of three-straight goals for the visitors.

"When you get 50 shots, you need more than three goals," said Ryan, who wasn't willing to use Mason's heroics as an excuse. "That falls on us, not him being so good."

Who's hot:
Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff has 2 goals in his last three games. Defenseman Ryan Whitney leads the team with 16 points -- all assists -- and has 5 in his last four games. … Corey Perry has 4 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak for the Ducks.

Injury report:
Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid is skating again as he recovers from a concussion, but is unlikely to play before Tuesday's game in Phoenix. He remains on injured reserve along with goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (groin).

Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne is nursing a sore groin and is day-to-day. Defenseman Andy Sutton (hand) and forwards Joffrey Lupul (back), Jason Jaffray (knee), Dan Sexton (nasal surgery), Matt Beleskey (concussion) and Kyle Chipchura (concussion) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack:
Whitney, traded to the Oilers by the Ducks last season, had 1 goal and 3 assists in two games against his former team following the deal. … Anaheim is 132-56-27 on home ice since the start of the 2005-06 season, including 7-2-1 this season.

Puck drop:
One of these teams will end a prolonged losing streak Sunday -- we can't tell you who it will be, but since Anaheim is involved, chances are it will be a tight game. Eight of the Ducks' past nine games were decided by a single goal and in the one that wasn't, Ryan scored an empty-netter for a 4-2 win over the Stars. They're 8-3-3 in one-goal games this season.

"I really can't remember playing in any other type of games with this hockey club for a long time," coach Randy Carlyle said.

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