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
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
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
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.”