NEW YORK -- The last time they played the Anaheim Ducks, on Oct. 10, the New York Rangers closed a three-game stint in California with a 6-0 loss in which they were outplayed badly. Coupled with a 9-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks two nights earlier, the Rangers' season was off to a tough start.
Four weeks later neither team is expecting a repeat of that one-sided affair as the Rangers host the Ducks on Monday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS).
"I think we had to learn from it," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We had to learn what we were doing wrong and realize not all of us were playing the way we need to play for our team to be successful. It was embarrassing and woke us up."
The Rangers certainly have been a different team since leaving the Pacific time zone. They have won four of their past five games and three straight at home. As they welcome the Ducks (11-3-1) to MSG, the Rangers aren't just hoping to exact some revenge. They also can reach the .500 mark with a win.
"I think that's something we want to get to, obviously .500. It's important to win at home. We've put a couple together. Now we have to continue to build on that," said captain Ryan Callahan, who returns Monday from a broken thumb.
He said he sees a very different team from the one that lost in Anaheim.
"There's a lot of differences," Callahan said. "Our compete level is the biggest thing. Our battle level has been better. That's where it all starts and I think you can see that through all the games at home."
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said the loss in Anaheim was embarrassing for his team. And although the club has improved drastically from that season-opening road trip, there is one memory from the loss that lingers. Vigneault recounted a moment when, as Anaheim led 6-0 with six minutes remaining in the third period, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau put out his top power-play unit following a Rangers penalty.
Boudreau downplayed the move, especially considering the Ducks enter Monday with a League-worse 6.9-percent success rate with the man-advantage.
"Has he seen our power-play record?" Boudreau said. "He can make of it what he wants. They needed to get a little work and they didn't do anything. He should be happy that they were on."
Despite its futility on the power play Anaheim continues to roll. The Ducks close a season-long eight-game road trip Monday and would like nothing more than to earn a win before returning home. They opened the trip with consecutive losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens but have gone 4-0-1 since then.
And they know the Rangers team they play Monday won't be the same group they walloped four weeks ago.
"I think we've got to be aware of it going on the ice. Anytime you get embarrassed as a team you're going to want to respond," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "I know it was a little while ago and they're a different hockey team than they were then."
Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen sustained an upper-body injury Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, so Luca Sbisa will make his season debut after being recalled Sunday from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. Sbisa played two games in Norfolk on a conditioning stint after sustaining an ankle injury in the Ducks' first preseason game.
He could have his hands full against a Rangers team primed for payback.
"The last game against them didn't end up the way we wanted. A 6-0 loss, you don't ever want that to happen to you," forward Carl Hagelin said. "[Monday] it's our turn to take it to them. Come out firing and put on a great show."
Frederik Andersen will start in goal for the Ducks while Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers. J.T. Miller likely will sit out with Callahan back in the lineup.
Here are the projected lineups for the Ducks and Rangers:
Corey Perry - Ryan Getzlaf - Patrick Maroon
Dustin Penner - Mathieu Perreault - Devante Smith-Pelly
Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano - Kyle Palmieri
Rickard Rakell - Daniel Winnik - Emerson Etem
Francois Beauchemin - Hampus Lindholm
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa - Bryan Allen
Injured: Teemu Selanne (face), Sami Vatanen (upper body), Sheldon Souray (wrist), Matt Beleskey (upper body), Viktor Fasth (lower body), Jakob Silfverberg (hand), Saku Koivu (head)
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Taylor Pyatt
Brandon Mashinter - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett
Dan Girardi - Ryan McDonagh
Anton Stralman - Marc Staal
Michael Del Zotto - John Moore
Scratched: Justin Falk, J.T. Miller
Inured: Rick Nash (head), Dominic Moore (oblique)