Canadiens-Ducks Preview

The Anaheim Ducks won more medals than any other NHL team at the

Olympics, but they haven’t been nearly as successful since their

return from Canada.

The Ducks will try again for their first win since the Vancouver

Games on Sunday night in a rare home matchup with the Montreal

Canadiens.

Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and captain Scott Niedermayer helped

Canada win the gold-medal game against a United States team that

featured Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney, who was dealt earlier this

week to Edmonton. Teemu Selanne and former Canadien Saku Koivu also

won bronze with Finland.

With the seven medals, the Ducks tied the 1998 Pittsburgh

Penguins and 2002 Detroit Red Wings for the most by one NHL

team.

However, Anaheim (30-27-7) didn’t get the benefit of any

momentum from its Olympic success. In their first game back, the

Ducks blew an early two-goal lead to Colorado on Wednesday night,

having their franchise-record 11-game home winning streak snapped

with a 4-3 defeat.

They followed that with a 4-0 loss in Phoenix on Saturday night.

The Ducks, averaging 3.1 goals since the beginning of February,

came up empty on seven power-play opportunities.

“The failure to execute when we had scoring chances was the

disturbing part for us,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “It seems like

right now we’re not getting anywhere near the performance level

that’s required. I think everybody can do more.”

Carlyle’s team, five points behind eighth-place Detroit in the

Western Conference, will try to make up ground during a seven-game

homestand that begins Sunday, but it will face three division

leaders during that stretch in San Jose, Chicago and Colorado.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, are trying to wrap up a successful

road trip in their first visit to Anaheim since a 3-1 loss on March

9, 2008. Since the Ducks began play in 1993-94, Montreal has made

nine trips there, winning five times.

Anaheim, however, has taken the past three overall meetings,

including a 6-4 road victory in the last matchup Oct. 25, 2008.

Perry, who had a goal and two assists in that win, enters Sunday

with a nine-game points streak at home (three goals, eight

assists).

Montreal (31-29-6) could be without its top goal scorer, Michael

Cammalleri, for the 11th straight game because of a knee injury.

The former Los Angeles King, the Canadiens’ 10th player to miss at

least 10 consecutive games due to injury this season, has 14 goals

in 30 games against the Ducks – his highest total against any

opponent in his career.

Canadiens center Maxim Lapierre will also be unavailable as he’s

serving a four-game suspension for his hit on San Jose’s Scott

Nichol in Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Sharks.

Montreal bounced back from that defeat Saturday night with a 4-2

win over Los Angeles as Brian Gionta recorded a goal and an assist

for the second consecutive contest.

Gionta hopes to continue his hot streak while helping Montreal

cap a four-game trip on a high note. The Canadiens could use the

win in their push for a third straight playoff berth. They’re

currently eighth in the East but only three points ahead of

11th-place Tampa Bay.

“Every point is big for us,” Gionta said. “The standings are

what they are, so we can’t sit back at all. We need to control our

own destiny going down the stretch.”