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.