For much of the season, the Anaheim Ducks were unbeatable on their home ice.
Having lost two of their last three at the Honda Center, the Ducks will look to return to their winning ways Thursday when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Ducks gained at least one point in their first 22 homes games, going 20-0-2, before losing 3-2 to Winnipeg on Jan. 21. A 2-1 win over visiting Los Angeles and a 3-0 victory against the Kings at Dodger Stadium followed, but Anaheim fell 4-2 at home to Minnesota on Tuesday.
"It’s hard to keep playing at that high level all year, it’s a long season," center Mathieu Perreault said. "We’re kind of in a down slope, but I think every team goes through it. We’d rather go through it right now than later in the season or playoffs, so we can fix what’s going wrong. That’s what we are working on right now."
Since beating Vancouver 9-1 on Jan. 15, Anaheim (39-11-5) has been in a bit of an offensive slump. It has averaged 2.3 goals in splitting its last six games after scoring 3.4 per game in the first 49. Corey Perry, who is among the NHL leaders with 28 goals, has only scored once during the past six contests.
The Ducks still have the most points in the league despite their recent struggles, but coach Bruce Boudreau is concerned about the team coasting against opponents such as the Flyers, who are one of many clubs fighting for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
"(Philadelphia) is a team we know that if we’re not at our best, we’re not going to succeed," Boudreau said. "They’re in a real dog-eat-dog situation in the Metropolitan Division. Every point they get is really valuable to them."
The Flyers (26-22-6) snapped a four-game losing streak in resounding fashion, beating Detroit 5-0 on Tuesday. Left wing Scott Hartnell had two goals and an assist, center Claude Giroux added a goal and two assists and Steve Mason turned away 33 shots.
Giroux has three goals and three assists in his last four games.
Philadelphia is opening a three-game road trip through California, facing Los Angeles on Saturday and San Jose on Monday. The Flyers, who have lost three of four away from home, are 5-3 this season against the Pacific Division.
"We needed a big win, we needed two points,” Hartnell said Tuesday. "We’re (about to go) on a really tough road trip against some big opponents out west and we needed to get our confidence back going into that trip."
The Ducks have won four of the last five in this series, including rallying from a 2-0 deficit to post a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on Oct. 29. Kyle Palmieri tied it early in the third period and scored the winner with 4:09 remaining.
The Flyers did win on their last trip to Anaheim, 4-3 in overtime on Giroux’s goal Dec. 2, 2011.