Ducks-Blue Jackets Preview
It's bad enough the Anaheim Ducks have the fewest points in the Western Conference. Making matters worse is how they started a stretch in which they play 10 of 12 games on the road.
The Ducks look to end their eight-game road losing streak Saturday night when they try to avoid a third loss this season to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Anaheim (11-13-7) took a two-goal lead into the third period Friday before losing 3-2 in overtime at Detroit. That began a four-game trip for the Ducks, who have 29 points and last won on the road Oct. 10 against Philadelphia.
The Ducks are 0-2-5 in road games against Western Conference opponents this season, falling 3-2 in a shootout to Columbus (14-11-6) on Nov. 13.
Saku Koivu and rookie Dan Sexton had a goal and an assist in the second period Friday and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 21 shots heading into the third. Ryan Getzlaf's hooking penalty nearly two minutes into the third period led to the Red Wings' first goal and Nick Boynton's hooking penalty near the end of regulation led to Todd Bertuzzi's power-play goal in overtime.
"We took way too many penalties the entire game," Sexton said. "Five-on-five we had them pretty good."
Coach Randy Carlyle was more direct about his club's undisciplined play.
"We had a 2-0 lead going into the third period and in the first two minutes we take an offensive zone penalty 200 feet from our net," he said. "And then take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (by Boynton at 4:46). ... How can you have a 2-0 lead with those kind of penalties? Just self-destructed."
Getzlaf has five assists and Corey Perry two in the two losses against the Blue Jackets this season, and Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock is focused on limiting the Ducks' points leaders.
"I think first of all you have to match their physicality and then you gotta shut down Getzlaf and Perry," Hitchcock said. "If you don't shut down Getzlaf and Perry and they dominate the game like they've done in the last little while, you're going to have a difficult time."
Getzlaf has six points in a three-game streak.
Columbus is 2-5-4 in its last 11 games after falling 4-3 in a shootout at Nashville on Thursday. Rick Nash and defenseman Kris Russell each had a goal and an assist.
"I think our players are disappointed in the fact that they played well and didn't get the two points," Hitchcock said.
The Blue Jackets have lost six of eight shootouts in 2009-10. The Ducks have dropped four of six.
Nash, who has three goals and an assist against Anaheim this season, went a season-high five straight games without a goal before Thursday.
Steve Mason will make his first start for the Blue Jackets since his 32-save effort for his first shutout of the season Wednesday in a 3-0 win over Florida. Mason had 10 shutouts last season and won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
Columbus has killed off all 12 power plays by its opponents in the last four games.