The Anaheim Ducks
(18-22-7, 43 points) will look to continue their nine-game unbeaten streak with a win over the Dallas Stars
on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Bruce Boudreau
's club is 8-0-1 over its last nine games, a run of positive results that includes a 5-2 win over the same Stars on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center.
Anaheim's coach has no illusions about how rare such a good run of form is in today's National Hockey League.
"I think it has more to do with staying at a level to win, which is difficult. That's why there's not a lot of winning streaks of this nature during the course of a year," Boudreau said. "It's tough to win. Early on, teams said we're playing the Ducks. Now teams say they're playing pretty well. We'd better be ready for them. We want to be the ones to end it."
For Ducks forward Corey Perry
, the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, his club's recent streak is something he chalks up to one simple fact.
"Yeah, I think everybody's starting to buy into the system. Everybody's buying into what Bruce is preaching every day," Perry said. "You look at the way we've been winning games and it starts right in our own zone -- playing tight defense and eliminating the turnovers we had in the first half of the year."
The Ducks head into tonight's game two days removed from a 3-2 win over Colorado, a game where starting goaltender Jonas Hiller
stopped a season-high 43 shots to pick up his fifth straight win between the pipes.
"I don't think we played our best, but Hiller did. This was a game the goalie needed to steal you one," Boudreau said. "We just hope it doesn't become a trend. I just thought our guys looked a little tired, maybe a little more mentally tired than they were physically tired, but Jonas came up and played tremendous for us."
Tonight's game coupled with Anaheim's first two after the break against Phoenix and a second meeting with Dallas figure to be big should the Ducks hope to climb back into the playoff race, something everyone in the room is aware of.
"We talked about that this morning. It's division opponents and teams you're trying to catch in the standings," Perry said. "These are three huge games for us. Six points are on the line. You could even say 12 points are on the line because it's our division and division teams. We have to be ready to play. We want to get the two points tonight before the six-day break that we have and go into the break on a high. It'd be a good feeling if we could do that."
His coach agrees, but is also keeping things in proper perspective.
"We just want to focus on one thing at a time, and tonight's the only thing we want to focus on," Boudreau said.
But the veteran head coach did admit he and his staff are on guard to prevent his players from looking past tonight's game to the pending All-Star break.
"Yeah, I think we alluded to that this morning a little bit and we'll do it again tonight. We'll do some talking about that for sure," Boudreau said.