A five-game swing north of the border could wear on any team, even the NHL’s points leader, but the Anaheim Ducks are playing quite well in Canada this season.
The Ducks will try to win for the fourth time on their trip when they close it Friday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Anaheim (22-7-5) bounced back from Tuesday’s tough 6-2 loss at Toronto with a 2-1 victory in Montreal on Thursday, improving to 3-1 on the trip and to 5-1-1 this season in Canada. The Ducks have also won in Edmonton and at Winnipeg on the current swing.
After giving up four goals on 20 shots before being yanked early in the third period against the Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen had 23 saves versus the Canadiens.
"Good teams never want to lose two in a row," left wing Matt Beleskey told the team’s official website. "That’s a big goal of ours. We came out tonight, Freddy played great and we played a sound game all night. We got two good points."
The Ducks have now won eight of their last nine overall, scoring at least four goals fives times in that span. When the offense has gone quiet, they’ve gotten strong performances from Andersen, who has stopped 92 of 97 shots in Anaheim’s last four wins.
"Our resiliency has been great all year," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "No team wins without good goaltending. When you get good goaltending, and we play the way we do, we’re usually successful."
With the finale of the trip serving as the tail end of a back-to-back, Ilya Bryzgalov could get his first start since joining the Ducks on Dec. 9. He allowed two goals on seven shots in just over 14 minutes in relief of Andersen on Tuesday.
Ottawa (13-12-6) is also coming off getting a quality performance in net from Craig Anderson, who stopped 34 shots to record his third shutout of the season, 2-0 against New Jersey on Wednesday.
The victory closed a 2-0-1 trip and marked a much-needed reprieve for the Senators, who had trudged through a nine-game stretch that resulted in seven losses and the firing of head coach Paul MacLean.
Anderson had lost nine of 11 starts since shutting out Minnesota on Nov. 6.
"Things weren’t going as badly as they looked," Anderson told Ottawa’s official site. "I just had a couple bad bounces here and there. Hopefully, my luck changed for the good tonight. We can leave here with five out of six points on this road trip and feel good about what we accomplished, but we need to straighten up some things, get better in some areas … I think we all know that and we’re all going to be better, and we know it."
The Senators’ offense offers a balanced attack, yet still ranks towards the bottom of the NHL with 28.8 shots per game. Clarke MacArthur leads the team with nine goals as one of nine players with at least six this season.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who has 21 points, may pose the strongest threat, but he’s been held off the scoresheet in three of the last four games.
Ryan Getzlaf has been red-hot for the Ducks, recording 16 points since Nov. 29. That top-level production has also been on display in his career against the Senators. He has four goals and six assists in seven matchups with Ottawa, which lost the most recent meeting 2-1 at home on Oct. 25, 2013.
Anaheim is 7-0-1 in its last eight against the Senators.