Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - No longer the NHL's leader in points, the Anaheim Ducks close out a five-game homestand on Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Randy Carlyle's return to the Honda Center.
The Ducks, idle since Friday, have followed up a three-game winning streak with back-to-back shootout losses, giving them 93 points on the season and a four-point edge over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.
However, Anaheim now sits a point behind St. Louis for the most in the league after the Blues recorded a shootout victory on Sunday.
The Ducks have been defeated in consecutive six-round shootouts, first falling to the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday before a 3-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins two nights later.
In the sixth round, Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter went to the backhand and lifted it high past Jonas Hiller. Ryan Getzlaf had the last chance for Anaheim, but he missed with a backhand attempt.
Corey Perry had both goals in regulation for the Ducks, while Hiller turned away 15 shots in the loss.
"I thought we played a great game," said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau. "Take away their power play, and I think they had 10 or 11 shots, which is great. We followed our game plan to a tee. We just lost in a shootout."
Anaheim lost defenseman Luca Sbisa to a lower-body injury on Friday and he may sit out tonight when Carlyle returns to Anaheim for the first time as the coach of the Maple Leafs.
Carlyle served as head coach of the Ducks for six-plus seasons before getting fired on Nov. 31, 2011 and replaced by Boudreau. The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 under Carlyle, who went 273-182-61 during his time with Anaheim.
The Maple Leafs currently sit third in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the fourth-place Tampa Bay Lightning and one point behind the Canadiens.
Carlyle won his first matchup versus the Ducks since getting fired, a 4-2 victory at home on Oct. 22. Phil Kessel had a hat trick for Toronto and Dion Phaneuf notched a goal in the Leafs' fourth straight victory over the Ducks.
Toronto also has won eight of the previous 11 meetings overall and four of the last six in Anaheim.
"Toronto is a great team," Boudreau told his club's website. "They have the highest scoring line in the league, and they can skate. And, it's Randy's first trip back. They're going to be all pumped up. It should be an exciting game, and it should be a really tough game."
Hiller made 19 saves in that October loss and is 0-4-0 in his career versus the Maple Leafs with a 4.84 goals against average.
Jonathan Bernier made 23 saves and is 3-1-1 lifetime versus the Ducks with a 2.22 GAA.
With Toronto set to visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, it is unknown if Bernier or James Reimer, who has never faced the Ducks, will start tonight.
Toronto is beginning a five-game road trip tonight and is just 12-12-7 as the guest compared to 22-11-1 at home.
The Maple Leafs hit the road having gone 4-1-2 in their last seven games, winning two straight in overtime. That includes a 4-3 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Toronto led 2-0 after the first period and 3-2 with 6:26 left in the third period, but Philadelphia forced overtime on a goal with 2:32 on the clock.
Joffrey Lupul was able to secure the extra point for his club when he scored 2:21 into the extra frame.
"We don't want to make a habit of blowing third-period leads, but things are going to happen and other teams are going to make plays," said Lupul. "We stuck with it and there was a good feeling on our bench going into overtime."
Mason Raymond, Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner also lit the lamp in the win. Troy Bodie supplied two assists and Bernier made 28 stops.