Ducks-Maple Leafs Preview
A loss to one of the NHL's most storied, but currently struggling, teams kept the Anaheim Ducks from clinching a playoff berth.
They can bounce back by taking care of another lowly Original Six club.
The Ducks continue their five-game Canadian trip Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are trying to win three straight at home for the first time this season.
Needing one point to secure a postseason spot, Anaheim (40-23-9) fell to 1-1-0 on the trip with Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Montreal.
''I don't think (a playoff berth) was even mentioned in the room,'' forward Jakob Silfverberg said. "It's a matter of winning games and (Tuesday) we didn't do it.''
The second-place Ducks trail Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles by four points and are one ahead of San Jose. Anaheim won two straight prior to Tuesday, but the defeat was its fifth in eight games.
"When you give up four goals, you're not going to win a lot of games," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We didn't play anywhere near as well as I think we could have."
Despite yielding one fewer goal than they did over the previous four contests, the Ducks have killed all 21 penalties in the last eight games.
"We've been playing a lot of good hockey over the last few months and we've just got to find a way to get back to there in Toronto," captain Ryan Getzlaf said.
Though the Leafs (26-35-11) are giving extended time to younger players down the stretch, the Ducks shouldn't expect things to be easy. They lost for the seventh time in eight meetings, 4-0 on Jan. 6, and have dropped three straight at Toronto, last playing there Dec. 16, 2014.
Jonathan Bernier, who stymied Anaheim with 39 saves in the first matchup, has posted a 1.27 goals-against average and a shutout while winning three of four starts. He stopped 23 shots and 2014 first-round pick William Nylander had a goal and two assists as the Leafs improved to 3-1-0 on a six-game homestand with Monday's 5-2 victory over Calgary.
Drafted eighth overall, Nylander has played 12 games and recorded five of his seven career points in the last two.
''If you get on a roll and start scoring in this league you start to become more confident, more poised with the puck and really start to not doubt yourself and not doubt that scoring touch," center Nazem Kadri said. "He's got that. He's gifted in that sense.''
The Maple Leafs have totaled nine goals in two games and scored at least four in three of four. However, they're 0 for 18 on the power play in six contests.
Kadri has gone six games without a point but has a goal in two of the last three against Anaheim.
Silfverberg has scored six of his career-high 15 goals in the past five games but doesn't have a point in four straight against Toronto.
Corey Perry reached the 30-goal mark for a third consecutive season Tuesday and sixth time overall - tying Paul Kariya for second-most in Anaheim history.
"That's a very difficult thing to do for as long as he's done it," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler told the NHL's official website.
The Peterborough, Ontario native has seven goals in nine games against the Maple Leafs but none in three at Toronto.