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Streaking Ducks visit first-place Panthers

The Anaheim Ducks are hoping to keep an unlikely playoff push going this evening. The Florida Panthers are just trying to keep first place in the Southeast Division from getting away.

The Ducks try to extend an eight-game point streak as they battle a Panthers club hoping to avoid a third straight setback.

Anaheim put itself in an early hole with a very slow start to the season that also led to a coaching change, with Bruce Boudreau stepping in for Randy Carlyle after a 7-13-4 start. Anaheim has been putting things together under its new coach since the beginning of January, going 14-2-4 since Jan. 6.

That includes a current 5-0-3 run that the Ducks were able to extend thanks to goals from Corey Perry and Sheldon Brookbank in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Devils. Perry's sixth goal in four games and Brookbank's first in 168 contests helped erase a two-goal deficit.

Jonas Hiller made 25 saves in defeat, getting outdueled by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

"Marty is a heck of a goaltender," Getzlaf said in praise of his foe. "He has done it for years. It's a different kind of style from most goaltenders but he finds a way to get it done and he did tonight."

Anaheim, now 3-0-2 on an eight-game road trip, sits seven points out of a playoff spot.

Florida, meanwhile, fell a point behind Washington for first place in the Southeast Division with a shutout loss back on Feb. 7, but rebounded with three straight wins to reclaim the top spot. However, consecutive losses to the Senators and Capitals now have the Panthers just two points ahead of Washington and only three up on Winnipeg.

Florida had a chance to pad its lead on Friday, but instead lost 2-1 to visiting Washington. Tomas Fleischmann scored the first goal for the Panthers with 39.8 seconds left in the first, but the Caps scored twice in the third.

Jose Theodore made 39 saves for the Panthers, who have lost the first two of a four-game homestand.

"When you have a lead you at least want a point out of it, but we found a way to lose tonight. ... It's a regular-season game, obviously, two teams trying to get to the playoffs. It was definitely an intense game," Panthers forward Kris Versteeg said.

Center John Madden missed Friday's game with a lower-body injury, while Mike Weaver is questionable for this contest after suffering a facial injury versus the Caps.

Anaheim has won two straight and four of its past versus Florida, including two straight trips to Sunrise.