Islanders-Ducks Preview

The Anaheim Ducks have to be feeling good that no team in the

ultra-competitive Pacific Division has more points than they do

with the season just over two months old.

What may be even more comforting is knowing that they’ve spent

less time at home than anyone in the league.

After beating two of the NHL’s best teams on their latest trip,

the Ducks might find life a bit easier when they begin a three-game

homestand Monday night against a New York Islanders club that’s on

the verge of the worst road skid in franchise history.

Anaheim (20-7-5) hasn’t yet played 40 percent of its schedule,

but nearly two-thirds of what it has played has taken place on the


The Ducks’ two latest road victories were arguably their most

impressive yet. Anaheim beat Central Division-leading Chicago 3-2

on Friday thanks to shootout goals from Nick Bonino and Kyle

Palmieri, then scored the game’s first four goals a night later in

a 5-2 win at St. Louis.

“We feel like we’re an elite team,” said Ryan Getzlaf, who had a

goal and an assist in each win to extend his point streak to 13

games. “And now we’re starting to show it.”

The Ducks finished a four-game stretch against four other West

contenders – they also faced San Jose and Los Angeles – with six


“What we’ve proved at this stage of the year is that we can play

with the big boys and compete with them,” coach Bruce Boudreau

said. “We’re going to leave (here) feeling good about


They might feel even better arriving home to find the Islanders

(8-17-5) waiting. New York’s longest losing streak since dropping a

franchise-record 14 straight in late 2010 hit nine with a 3-0 loss

at Los Angeles on Saturday.

It’s also lost nine straight on the road, matching the longest

skid in team history.

The Islanders haven’t scored more than two goals in the past

seven games and are only halfway through a brutal six-game stretch

in which they face heavyweights Pittsburgh, St. Louis, the Kings,

Ducks, Sharks and Coyotes.

“I know what our record is, but it’s not like we’re getting

dominated in these games,” coach Jack Capuano said. “If we’re not

going to score any goals, it’s going to be tough for us. We didn’t

generate (anything) on our power play, and that’s probably the


A lack of success with the man advantage isn’t anything new for

Capuano’s team. New York is 2 for 27 during its skid and 4 for 43

(9.3 percent) on the road this season, while the Islanders have

given up 15 goals in 37 short-handed situations (40.5 percent)

during their skid away from the Nassau Coliseum.

Capuano has been troubled by a lack of production from his top

line of Thomas Vanek, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, who combined to

take only three shots Saturday.

“That top line that we have is a line that has to realize that

they have to shoot a little bit more,” Capuano said. “They’ve got

to get pucks to the net. They make those little plays to the net

… they’ve got to find a way score goals. That’s the bottom


Capuano might want to worry about Anaheim’s No. 1 line a bit as

well. Along with Getzlaf’s 20 points during his streak, Corey Perry

has scored in five straight games, while Dustin Penner has five

goals and three assists in his last seven.

The Ducks have won three in a row against the Islanders at home,

with Perry providing two assists in a 4-2 win Jan. 6, 2012, in the

teams’ latest meeting.