PREVIEW: Ducks face slumping Blackhawks in Chicago (5p, Prime Ticket)
The Chicago Blackhawks will try to snap a seven-game losing streak when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night at the United Center.
Anaheim (27-20-11) is in better position in the standings but wants to avoid a mini-slump from turning into a major downturn. The Ducks are winless in their last two games and have posted a meager 2-5-2 record in their past nine contests.
Each of Anaheim’s last two losses have come by one goal. On Tuesday, they fell short 2-1 to the Detroit Red Wings.
“We weren’t sharp with the puck and we needed to go upstairs more,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the team’s official website. “We put pucks into his feet. The puck was bouncing away from us. You can’t play that way. Two turnovers in the game gave them goals. Those are very easily correctable.”
Chicago (24-25-8) has been outscored 29-12 during its skid, which has included six losses in regulation and one loss in overtime. The Blackhawks have fallen 12 points out of the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 25 games left.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews knows the situation is bleak for him and his teammates.
“There’s no words left,” Toews said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s about what you go out there and do.”
Anaheim will counter with John Gibson or Ryan Miller in net. Gibson is 19-15-6 with a 2.58 GAA and .922 SP in 43 games. Miller is 7-4-5, 2.69, .915 in 19 contests.
Both netminders have experience facing Chicago. Gibson is 2-2-1, 2.15, .936 in six games. Miller is 5-6-0, 2.84, .912 in 12 contests.
Anaheim is led by Rickard Rakell, who has 46 points (22 goals) in 53 games. Veteran Ryan Getzlaf has 35 points (seven goals) in 34 games.
This is the second of three meetings this season. Chicago won the first matchup 7-3 on Nov. 27.