Ducks-Islanders Preview

The Anaheim Ducks got their season-high seven-game road trip off

to an impressive start. They’re in an ideal position to continue it

against their next opponent.

The Ducks look to extend their winning streak to four by

sweeping the season series from the NHL-worst New York Islanders on

Thursday night.

Anaheim won its third straight with a 2-1 victory at Washington

on Wednesday, handing the Southeast Division-leading Capitals their

seventh straight loss. Ryan Getzlaf scored with 56.6 seconds left

in overtime as the Ducks improved to 7-2-1 in their last 10.

“We just (have) to keep scratching and clawing,” Getzlaf said

after Anaheim’s third road win in four games. “We’re not going to

blow anybody out. (On Wednesday), we had to take an extra five

minutes, but we were able to get it done.”

Getzlaf has three goals and three assists in his last four games

after scoring twice with eight assists in the previous 16. However,

he has only one assist in four meetings with the Islanders.

While Getzlaf is surging, Jonas Hiller has been superb in net.

He’s 4-0-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average in his last five

games, including a 31-save performance against the Capitals.

Hiller will likely get his first start against the Islanders

(5-18-5). He stopped all seven shots he faced in relief of

Jean-Sebastien Giguere during his only meeting with them, a 2-1 win

at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 21, 2009.

If Anaheim rests Hiller, Curtis McElhinney would get his first

start since being removed with a cut to his forehead of the third

period in a 5-4 shootout loss at Vancouver on Dec. 8. He took a

slap shot to the mask and collapsed to the ice while the Canucks

scored to begin their rally from a two-goal deficit.

McElhinney got his only career shutout against New York on Nov.

10, making 27 saves in a 1-0 win.

The Ducks have dropped three of four on Long Island, but may

begin reversing that trend. New York has 15 points through 28

games, the lowest total at this point in a season since Tampa Bay

had 14 in 1997-98.

The Islanders haven’t looked remotely capable of beginning to

change things, dropping 20 of their last 21 while being outscored

79-36. They turned in another shoddy effort Monday, losing 5-0 at

Nashville as their slide reached six.

“I think we have slides where out of 60 minutes we will play 50

minutes or 45,” said Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski, a

former Duck. “It’s not all in the whole 15 minutes or 10 minutes

that we don’t play well, it’s three minutes in the second or four

minutes in the first or something where people take advantage.”

Perhaps opening a three-game homestand can spur Matt Moulson,

New York’s leader with 16 points. Moulson has seven of his

team-high 10 goals and three of his six assists on Long Island.

He has one goal and two assists in three meetings with Anaheim,

all while with Los Angeles.