Ducks-Wild Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 26, 2011
The Anaheim Ducks didn't get one of the longest road trips in team history off to an ideal start. They also might have trouble earning a victory in the next stop on that trek. The well-rested Minnesota Wild will try to extend a five-game home win streak over the Ducks on Thursday night. Anaheim's seven-game road trip is tied for the club's third-longest ever, and the Ducks fell just short of opening that journey with a win. They took a 2-1 lead into the third period Tuesday in Chicago before falling 3-2 in a shootout for their third straight defeat. "I think we can play better, but we gave ourselves a chance to win tonight and that's a good sign," forward Teemu Selanne said. Anaheim (4-3-1) couldn't convert on three power-play opportunities in the third period and finished 1 for 6 in the game. The Ducks are just 4 for 35 (11.4 percent) this season after ranking third in the NHL at 23.5 percent in 2010-11. "We didn't execute with the power play," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We were slapping the puck around and had chances to get ourselves the extra point, and we didn't deliver in a critical situation on the road." Ryan Getzlaf tallied the lone power-play goal Tuesday and has scored three times over the past two contests after enduring a six-game drought to open the season. The Ducks captain has never scored in 11 all-time visits to Xcel Energy Center, although he does have 10 assists there. He's recorded six of those during Anaheim's last four games in Minnesota but hasn't kept the Ducks from adding to an 0-2-3 skid there. They're 3-3-4 in their last 10 overall matchups with the Wild. Minnesota (3-2-3) enters Thursday with one win in its last four contests overall. Like Anaheim, it couldn't hold on to a one-goal lead in the third period of its most recent game, a 3-2 overtime defeat to Vancouver on Saturday. After allowing the tying goal early in the third, the Wild gave up a power-play goal with 21 seconds left in the extra period after Dany Heatley committed a slashing penalty. Each of Minnesota's games has been decided by two goals or fewer, and a struggling power play hasn't helped the Wild lately. Minnesota is 0 for 18 with the man advantage over its last five contests, and coach Mike Yeo is contemplating some changes to his power-play lines. Yeo said he might move center Matt Cullen back to the point during those situations. "I think (Cullen) has a shooter's mentality. He's willing to put pucks to the net. That might not be the only change," Yeo said. "Our power play has to start giving us goals. All these one-goal games, if we score one or two more power-play goals, what's our record right now?" The Wild have converted 7 of 16 power-play chances during their home win streak over the Ducks, but Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller has played in only two of those games. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom has posted a 1.73 goals-against average while playing in each game of the streak. Hiller is 5-2-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average in eight career starts against Minnesota. Heatley, Guillaume Latendresse and defenseman Greg Zanon are all dealing with groin issues for the Wild and their statuses are unknown for Thursday.
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