(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will have to work out of their current slump minus a pair of key contributors beginning on Wednesday night in a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Ducks have lost four of their past five games as well as six of the last nine, including Sunday's 5-3 setback to the Washington Capitals. They lost more than the game, however, with forward Matt Beleskey and defenseman Sami Vatanen exiting in the first period with injury.
Both have been placed on injured reserve, with Beleskey out 2-to-4 weeks with an upper-body injury and Vatanen expected to be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks because of an issue with his lower body.
The 26-year-old Beleskey has notched a career-high 21 goals this season, including an NHL-high eight game-winning tallies, while Vatanen's 34 points lead all Anaheim defenseman.
Anaheim responded to the losses by recalling forward Emerson Etem and blueliner Josh Manson from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
The Ducks lost to the Capitals despite a pair of goals by Andrew Cogliano and one from Corey Perry, who has five goals and nine points over his last eight games.
John Gibson, though, allowed five goals on 28 shots in the loss.
"We're just at that point in the year where we have to be mentally stronger. We need to get that mojo back that we had throughout the start of the season," said Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf.
"We never really strayed from our path ever during the start of the year. It didn't matter what the score was. We just played. At times, we're squeezing the sticks a little bit trying to make things happen that aren't always there, and it ends up in the back of the net."
Despite their recent slide, the Ducks still have a comfortable 10-point edge over Vancouver and Calgary for first place in the Pacific Division.
The Lightning are in a much tighter battle in their division as they sit second in the Atlantic Division and two points behind the first-place Montreal Canadiens. They are only four points ahead of the third-place Detroit Red Wings as well and all three teams are in action tonight.
The Lightning opened up a five-game road trip with Sunday's victory over San Jose, but lost for the third time in four games after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings, who scored twice in the third period to pull ahead.
Nikita Nesterov and Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning. Nesterov, a 21- year-old defenseman, scored his first NHL goal in his 13th game.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 shots in the loss.
"I thought it was a game that we could get points out of," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told his club's website. "... It was tough, you give up the second one, which we eventually made up but the third one was a backbreaker."
Though the Lightning have lost three straight in Anaheim -- all in overtime -- they have won three of their past four versus the Ducks overall. That includes a 5-3 victory at home on Feb. 8, a win that was fueled by three first-period goals.
Brian Boyle scored twice, Valtteri Filppula had a goal and two assists, and Ben Bishop made 25 saves.
Bishop moved to 3-0-1 lifetime versus the Ducks with a 1.32 goals against average and .957 save percentage in four meetings (3 starts). He is likely to face them again tonight.
Getzlaf and Vatanen both had goals, while Frederik Andersen allowed all five Lightning goals on 22 shots before being forced to leave the game in the third period when the net tipped over on fell on top of him.
Andersen has not played since due to the upper-body ailment, and though he is close to returning Gibson figures to face the Lightning for the first time in his career tonight.