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Win streaks on line as Ducks, Rangers clash @NHLdotcom

DUCKS (2-1-1) at RANGERS (3-1-0)

Season series: This is the first meeting of the season between the cross-country combatants. The Rangers took both meetings last season, including a 4-2 win at Madison Square Garden in late January.

Big Story:
After losing to the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins on the night they raised their banner, the Rangers have won three straight against the Senators, Devils and Capitals. The Ducks, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, are on a two-game win streak of their own.

Team Scope:

Ducks – Confidence was high to start this season after a postseason run that saw the Ducks come within one goal of eliminating the Red Wings. And following an 0-1-1 start, Anaheim has responded with a decisive win at Boston and a come-from-behind shootout victory in Philadelphia.

Rangers – There's been a little something different in each of their three victories. They won an up-and-down, fast-paced game with Ottawa, figured out a way to edge the defensive-minded Devils, and rallied on the road to beat Alex Ovechkin and the high-flying Capitals. Wins are always a nice way to get the players to believe in a coach.

"In order for a team to believe in the system, there has to be some success," Rangers coach John Tortorella told the New York Post. "The mindset is very important."

The Rangers seem to have their heads in the right place to start this season.

Who's Hot –
For the Rangers, Marian Gaborik is living up the free-agent hype and contract. His two goals were the difference in a comeback win against the Capitals on Thursday night, and he has four goals in four games this season.

For the Ducks, Teemu Selanne has back-to-back two-goal games, and he added the shootout winner against the Flyers.

"He's a guy that's delivered in crucial situations," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's done that for this hockey club before. You can see by the way he approaches the game he's having fun out there."

Injury Report –
Left wing Sean Avery (knee) is expected to make his season debut for the Rangers. Petteri Nokelainen (groin) hasn't played in a game yet this season and is doubtful for the Ducks.

Stat Pack –
Nineteen-year-old rookie Michael del Zotto is making the NHL look easy. The Rangers' rookie defenseman has four points (two goals) in his last three games. Future Hall-of-Fame blueliner Scott Niedermayer led the Ducks with a whopping 30:42 of ice time and six shots on goal against the Flyers. He also picked up an assist, his third of the season.

Puck Drop – The Ducks are closing out a brutal four-game road trip (Wild, Bruins, Flyers, Rangers) that's seen them grab five points in the first three games. After a 5-0 start to the 2008-09 season, the Rangers are looking to improve to 4-1 to start this season.

-- Dave Lozo,


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