Mighty Ducks-Senators Preview
GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (19-16-9) at Ottawa Senators (31-10-3).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
After sweeping a two-game road trip, the Ottawa Senators begin a five-game homestand by hosting an Anaheim Mighty Ducks team they've dominated in recent years.
The Ducks, who haven't won in Ottawa since March 22, 1998, have one win in the last nine meetings between the teams and come into this contest with only five victories in 20 road games this season. Ottawa, meanwhile, has won 17 of its 21 home games.
First-year Senators coach Bryan Murray will be facing his former team for the first time since resigning as Anaheim's senior vice president and general manager to take the job with Ottawa on June 8, 2004.
Murray, who's also coached Washington, Detroit and Florida, helped put together the Anaheim club that advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003.
Ottawa beat Edmonton 5-3 on Saturday, then followed that win with a 6-1 rout of Minnesota on Monday. The Senators' third line of Patrick Eaves, Chris Kelly and Vaclav Varada combined for eight points against the Wild.
Eaves had the first multipoint game of his career with two goals and an assist, Kelly had the first three-point game of his career with a goal and two assists, and Varada added two assists as Ottawa won for the third time in four games.
"That line has been really good for us because they do everything right," Murray said. "Patty, Kelly and Varada together have really worked well, and now they're getting points."
Anaheim continued a stretch of playing well in regulation only to lose 4-3 in overtime at Boston on Monday. The Ducks have lost four of their last five games, with three of the defeats coming in the extra period or shootouts. Monday's loss was Anaheim's second straight in overtime.
The Ducks fell behind 3-1 early in the third period to the Bruins before tying the game with goals from Chris Kunitz and Ryan Getzlaf, but couldn't hang on to earn an extra point in overtime.
"I changed all the lines because we were so flat," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We had to find some sort of change."
The Ducks have nine losses after regulation, tied with Pittsburgh for the most in the NHL.
Anaheim is playing without leading scorer Teemu Selanne, who has missed the last two games with a groin strain.
STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 47 points, 3rd place (tied), 15 PB, Pacific Division. Senators - 65 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 19 goals and 37 points; Scott Niedermayer, 26 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 86 PIM. Senators - Dany Heatley, 29 goals; Jason Spezza, 35 assists; Daniel Alfredsson, 61 points; Zdeno Chara, 102 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Mighty Ducks - Power play: 15.6 percent (41 for 263), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (240 for 285), 9th. Senators - Power play: 21.4 percent (60 for 280), 3rd. Penalty killing: 84.7 percent (244 for 288), 8th.
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (12-6-8, 2.76 GAA); Ilya Bryzgalov (7-10-1, 2.62). Senators - Dominik Hasek (23-7-2, 3 SO, 2.03); Ray Emery (8-3-1, 1, 3.07).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Senators, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 17, 2003; Senators, 3-0. At Anaheim, Calif., Patrick Lalime stopped 27 shots for his 29th career shutout.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 5-10-5 on the road; Senators - 17-4-0 at home.