PREVIEW: Ducks find themselves in thick of playoff race (3:30p)
Ducks @ Senators
Thursday, Feb. 1 @ 3:30 p.m. PT
TV: Prime Ticket/FSSD/FOX Sports Go
OTTAWA — Now that the Anaheim Ducks have stopped one streak, the Ottawa Senators are hoping they’ll be the brakes on another.
In this case, their own six-game skid.
The Senators (15-24-9) will be looking for their first victory since Jan. 10 when they entertain the Ducks at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday. While their hopes for a playoff spot are now almost lottery-like, losing is bad for business and the Senators still have 16 home games left on their schedule.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 1, 2018
Otherwise, attention is now being focused on what unloading general manager Pierre Dorion will do before the trade deadline in four weeks.
The Ducks (25-17-9) are another matter. They have won their last three games, including 3-1 in Boston on Tuesday that stopped the Bruins 18-game point collecting streak. With six victories in their last eight games, the Ducks have also placed themselves back in the thick of the race for a Western Conference playoff spot.
They are tackling an important stretch of the schedule, one contest into a five-game road swing.
“We got right back on the game we were playing before the (All-Star) break,” center Adam Henrique said of the victory over the Bruins. “We wanted to start this road trip off on the right foot.”
The win did come at a price. After leaving his previous start with a lower body injury, No. 1 goalie John Gibson took a hard third period shot from Patrice Bergeron in the chest and, despite his desire to continue, finally had to be replaced by Ryan Miller.
Gibson didn’t skate in Ottawa on Wednesday and is considered day-to-day.
“It’s a wise thing to do, to make sure you’re 100 percent before you go back in, and he felt he wasn’t that way,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle explained to the Orange County Register on Tuesday. “So we’ve got Ryan Miller, and Ryan Miller’s done the job.”
Both Senators goalies have struggled this season, but coach Guy Boucher is blaming neither Craig Anderson or Mike Condon for the team’s troubled ways.
Boucher has named Condon as the starter for Thursday, but says he’ll likely be “flipping back and forth” between the goalies unless one of them suddenly gets hot.
“Right now we’re giving a lot to both so they don’t have to wait a long time before they get their game,” Boucher said. “They continue getting their games at the level they can be at, and lately, we’ve seen some good portions of games where they look good. So we want to make sure both of them get the chance to get back in the games fast enough to continue growing.”
The Ducks won the only previous meeting this season when they blanked the Senators 3-0 in Anaheim on Dec.6, with Miller making 29 saves for the shutout.
The clubs split their two-game series last season with the Senators picking up a 2-1 overtime win in Ottawa and suffering a 5-1 defeat in Anaheim.
Rickard Rakell had two assists Tuesday and leads the Ducks with 38 points and 18 goals.