The Anaheim Ducks own the most points in the NHL, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are atop the Eastern Conference.
Both teams haven’t resembled that lofty status of late, and they could be in danger of losing it.
The Ducks and Penguins are looking to shake out of their respective funks as they complete their season series Friday night at Honda Center.
Anaheim (43-14-6) is two points ahead of St. Louis for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Pittsburgh (41-17-4) may have a six-point cushion on second-place Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division race, but hold a one-point advantage over Boston for the Eastern Conference lead.
The Ducks and Penguins haven’t helped themselves recently.
Anaheim is 4-5-1 over its last 10 home games after steamrolling visitors in a 20-0-2 start there. The team’s recent struggles continued Wednesday, when they overcame an early two-goal deficit before losing 4-3 in a shootout to Montreal.
"The first 10 minutes, everybody was still thinking about every trade that went on," coach Bruce Boudreau said, referring to Wednesday’s trade deadline. "They weren’t preparing the proper way … and we had to battle to get even."
Some production from Ryan Getzlaf would surely help.
The captain leads the team with 68 points, but he has just one in three games since the Olympic break. He’s also enduring his own rough stretch at home with one goal and one assist in six games.
Getzlaf, though has four goals and three assists in eight career meetings with the Penguins, scoring in Anaheim’s 3-1 road defeat Nov. 18.
Corey Perry assisted on Getzlaf’s tally, giving him eight points in eight games against Pittsburgh. He has just three points in his last six home games – all of them in Sunday’s 5-3 win over Carolina.
The Penguins have surrendered 21 goals during a 1-2-2 stretch, including 11 during a 1-2-0 start to this five-game road trip.
Those defensive issues were exposed again Thursday, when Pittsburgh blew a 2-0 first-period advantage and gave up three unanswered goals in the final 13:08 of a 5-3 defeat at San Jose.
"We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for them in the second half of the game," center Sidney Crosby said. "Once they tied it at 3-3 they really came at us hard."
Crosby is trying to bounce back from one of the worst performances of his career. He was a career-worst minus-5 while registering only one shot on goal versus the Sharks.
That came two nights after he assisted on all of the Penguins’ goals in a 3-1 win at Nashville.
Despite the Ducks’ status as the NHL leaders, Crosby may be looking forward to facing them since he has three goals in his last two games against them and six points in as many games versus Anaheim lifetime. He scored a goal in the November victory while Evgeni Malkin had two assists.
Malkin has 11 points over the past nine games after getting an assist Thursday.
Chris Kunitz has scored a goal in each of the past two games, but he has no points in four games against the Ducks after being sent to Pittsburgh on Feb. 26, 2009.
Stephane Robidas is not expected to play as he continues to suffer recovering from a broken leg suffered Nov. 29 with Dallas. The Ducks acquired the 37-year-old defenseman, who has five points in 24 games, in exchange for a fourth-round pick Tuesday.