Heading West

Anaheim,Ca - As they embark on a three-game West Coast trip, the slumping New York Rangers are feeling better about themselves thanks to a strong effort and a victory in their last game.

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The Anaheim Ducks, however, also have plenty of reasons to be confident at home, where they'll look for a sixth straight victory at Honda Center as the Rangers visit on Tuesday.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Ducks –155 money line favorites for Friday’s game against the Rangers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 74% of more than 145 bets for this game have been placed on the Ducks -155.

Heading into Saturday's game against Carolina, the Rangers (20-11-2) had lost three of their previous four games, getting outscored 19-10 over that span and giving up a season-high eight goals in a loss to New Jersey on Friday.

But they bounced back with a 3-2 shootout win over the Hurricanes - their sixth shootout victory in the last 14 games. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots and all five shootout attempts after allowing all of the goals in the 8-5 loss to the Devils, while Rangers captain Chris Drury scored the shootout winner.

"I thought we were terrific in lots of ways," New York coach Tom Renney said. "It certainly showed a level of character that is going to be required to move forward and win, a commitment to the little things that we had talked about to overcome."

New York also killed all eight Carolina power plays, improving its NHL-best penalty kill to 90.7 percent. Opponents have scored one goal on the man advantage in the Rangers last seven games.

Still, Lundqvist had been struggling during that stretch, giving up 17 goals while losing his last three starts before Saturday. The eight goals allowed against the Devils matched a career high.

But against the Hurricanes, he looked more like the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist who allowed two or fewer goals in 12 straight starts earlier this season.

"I'm happy that (Renney) gave me the opportunity to play right away," Lundqvist said. "I didn't have a couple days to think too much, just get back there right away and play a game."

The Rangers won't have much time to think this week, either, with three games in five days - capped by a visit to NHL-leading San Jose.

But first they'll have to deal with the Ducks (17-11-3), who've outscored opponents 18-8 during their five-game home winning streak and are 90-31-20 at home since the lockout. Leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has at least a point in 13 of his last 14 home games, totaling nine goals and 14 assists over that span.

Getzlaf opened the scoring with his 13th goal in Anaheim's 4-2 home win over Minnesota on Sunday, while linemate Chris Kunitz added a pair of assists, including one on a goal by Corey Perry, who ended an eight-game goal drought with his eighth of the year.

"It was nice to see that line chip in as much as they did tonight," said defenseman Chris Pronger, who also had two assists, including one on Brendan Morrison's game-winner. "It's fun to watch when they're moving the puck like that. All three of them are very creative. Perry and Getzlaf are great down low in the corners and behind the net. Kunitz does a lot of the speed work up and down the wings."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere also stopped 26 shots for the Ducks, who've won seven of 10 overall. Giguere is 4-0-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average in his last five starts.

He's 1-3-1 with a 3.41 GAA in his career against New York, but the win was a 4-1 victory at Madison Square Garden in the most recent meeting on Feb. 7. Anaheim is 12-3-3 with a tie all-time against the Rangers.

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Posted: 12/16/08 12:15 AM ET

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