|NHL: Minnesota at Anaheim|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Sunday, 12 November 2006 04:46|
Ducks Looks to Start a New Streak Tonight in Anaheim
With their NHL record 16-game streak of earning at least a point now over, Anaheim meets the Minnesota Wild at the Honda Center on Sunday in a matchup of division leaders.
Anaheim (12-1-4) had 37 shots on goal Friday, but failed to get anything past Miikka Kiprusoff and fell to the Flames 3-0 in Calgary. The loss came one night after the Ducks posted a 6-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, surpassing the points record previously held by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, who started the season with 12 wins and three ties.
``We didn't expect to go 82-0 this year,'' Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf said. ``It's a long season. We took this thing as far as we could. Now it's over. We can just relax and get ready for Sunday now. That's our biggest focus now is how we respond to a game like this.''
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, making just his fifth start of the season, gave up goals to Daymond Langkow and Tony Amonte 19 seconds apart early in the contest, and was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said he was proud of his team's effort in spite of the outcome.
``We had a bad start,'' he said. ``We gave up two early goals and we didn't quite have the execution level to get it done. Did we work hard? Damn right we worked hard. Did we compete? We competed our (butts) off.
``Those are the things you're most proud of. There was no quit in our group; we battled right to the end. Our work ethic was strong.''
The record-setting start has helped Anaheim take a four-point lead over the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division.
During their streak, the Ducks earned three of a possible four points against Minnesota. Anaheim defeated the Wild 2-1 at home on Oct. 20, but lost 3-2 in a shootout on the road a week later.
Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne - the Ducks' top two scorers with 15 points each - both will try to extend home points streaks. In his last four games at the Honda Center, Pronger has two goals and six assist, while Selanne has goals in three straight games with seven points over that span.
Neither player has appeared on the scoresheet this season against Minnesota (11-4-0), which has a 5-point lead over Vancouver and Edmonton in the Northwest Division.
The Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday as Manny Fernandez made 30 saves for his 100th career win.
Minnesota also improved to 6-0 this season in games that go past regulation.
``Manny's a big part of that,'' said Wild center Todd White, who scored the game-winner in the sixth round. ``He made some big stops. It's great having him back there. I know he's tough to beat on breakaways in practice, so he's tough in shootouts. But he was solid throughout the whole game.''
Fernandez was in net for both games this season against the Ducks, stopping 59 of 63 shots. Overall for his career, he's 2-4-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and one shutout in Anaheim.
Minnesota opened the season with a franchise-record six-game winning streak and nine wins in its first 10 games, but has since dropped three of its last five.
The absence of all-time franchise scoring leader Marian Gaborik with a strained groin has left linemate Pavol Demitra struggling. Acquired by the Wild in a trade to provide additional offense on the top line, Demitra has only two goals and one assist in his last nine games.
Demitra tallied a goal and seven assists in a six-game points streak to start the season.
The oft-injured Gaborik has appeared in just 65 games in each of the last two seasons.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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