Reeling Ducks try to get back on track in Edmonton
(Sports Network) - The struggling Anaheim Ducks will try to get their Pacific Division title push back on track Sunday, when they play the first of two straight road games against the Edmonton Oilers.
As recently as a few weeks ago, Anaheim appeared to be a lock to win the division, but an 0-3-1 skid has clouded the issue somewhat. The Ducks are still five points ahead of both San Jose and Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific, but all three teams have four games left in the regular season.
Both the Sharks and Kings are playing home games on Sunday, as San Jose welcomes Columbus and L.A. takes on Dallas.
Anaheim won its only other division title in 2006-07, when the franchise also claimed its one and only Stanley Cup.
The Ducks, who haven't lost five straight at any point this season, suffered their most recent setback in Friday's road game against the Calgary Flames, a team that has already been eliminated from playoff contention. Roman Horak and Brian McGrattan scored one goal apiece to lead the Flames to a 3-1 win over the reeling Ducks.
Corey Perry scored the lone goal for the Ducks, who fell to 5-8-2 over their last 15 games. Jonas Hiller made 28 saves in the setback.
"We're certainly not going to (finish second in the conference and win our division) playing the way that we did the first two periods," Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I couldn't have cared less if we were playing a midget team or the Russian national team. We needed the win that should have been motivation enough."
Friday's test was the first of four straight on the road for the Ducks, who are 11-5-5 as the visiting club this season. Anaheim and the Oilers will meet again in Edmonton on Monday before the Ducks head to Vancouver.
The Ducks recorded a 2-1 home win over the Oilers on April 8 and have taken seven of eight and 12 of the last 14 meetings in this series. Anaheim also has won nine in a row at Edmonton's Rexall Place.
Edmonton is on the brink of being officially eliminated from playoff contention, but the club was able to halt a six-game slide with Friday's 4-1 triumph at Colorado. Jordan Eberle recorded a goal and two assists to get the Oilers back in the win column against the lowly Avalanche.
Justin Schultz added a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who are eight points out of a playoff spot with four games to play.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall also found the back of the net, and Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves to pick up the victory.
"We were pretty pissed off losing six in a row. Nothing was going right for us, and it was nice getting back tonight," Eberle said.
Edmonton is 8-8-4 as the home team and is playing four of five games at Rexall Place to close the season.
04/21 11:15:22 ET