NHL-leading Ducks host Habs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks hope to make it four straight victories on Wednesday night as they play host to a Montreal Canadiens team in the midst of a West Coast road trip.
After picking up a road win over Nashville prior to the Olympic break, the Ducks returned to action and won the first two of a five-game homestand. They sit 24-5-2 as the hosting club this season and lead the NHL with 91 points, six up on the second-place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim followed up a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues by jumping out a quick lead on Sunday versus the Carolina Hurricanes. The Ducks scored a trio of goals in the opening period and another two in the second on the way to a 5-3 win.
Corey Perry notched two goals and an assist, while Francois Beauchemin, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg added tallies. Frederik Andersen made 49 saves in his first game since Feb. 3.
"It's all about having good starts and jumping on your opponent," Perry said. "We played our style of game -- quick puck movement and getting in on the forecheck and creating chances. It proves it works."
Anaheim has won 15 of its past 21 games and is likely to start Jonas Hiller in net tonight. He is 2-1-1 with a 2.65 goals against average in his career versus the Canadiens.
In line to contend for a Stanley Cup title this season, the Ducks got a jump on the action ahead of today's trade deadline by making three deals on Tuesday. The biggest brought defenseman Stephane Robidas from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional 2014 fourth-round draft choice.
Robidas is nearing a return from a broken leg suffered on Nov. 29 and the 37- year-old had four goals, one assist and a plus-7 rating in 24 games before his injury.
"If I could get a right-handed shooting defenseman, a sort of shutdown-type of guy who plays hard, we were going to try to accomplish that," said Ducks general manager Bob Murray. "That was one of our needs. Getting Stephane, who I've always liked for how hard he competes, how hard he plays, can do more than shut down. He actually played on the second power play at times. It was an opportunity, so we took it."
Murray also stockpiled draft picks on Tuesday, sending forward Dustin Penner to the Washington Capitals for a fourth-round pick and goaltender Viktor Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers in return for a pair of selections.
Montreal bolstered its blue line as well on Tuesday, getting veteran defenseman Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers for a fifth-round pick in 2015. Weaver has six assists in 55 games this season and his true value is in the defensive zone as he has 101 hits with 94 blocked shots.
"If I stay out of the paper, I'm doing my job," Weaver joked with Montreal's website. "I'm not a guy who's going to score a lot of points but I do the little things like block shots and penalty killing is my specialty. I'd rather block a shot than score a goal so I guess you could say I'm a goalie's best friend back there. And in Montreal, there are a lot of forwards I can pass the puck to who will take it up and score, so it'll be a good situation."
Montreal will look to rebound tonight after having a six-game point streak (5-0-1) snapped with Monday's 2-1 setback to the Los Angeles Kings. P.K. Subban had the lone Habs goal and Peter Budaj made 20 saves in his fourth straight start.
"It was a disappointing game for us," Budaj said. "We were right there with them just one or two lucky bounces."
Budaj is expected to make his fifth straight start in the second contest of a four-game road trip as Carey Price remains out with a lower-body injury aggravated during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Price was able to be on the ice on Tuesday for an optional workout.
Budaj is 4-7-3 with a 2.79 GAA in his career versus the Ducks.
The Canadiens are second in the Atlantic Division, eight points behind the first-place Boston Bruins. They also are just two points ahead of the third- place Tampa Bay Lightning and a mere three points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Habs snapped a two-game slide to the Ducks with a 4-1 home win on Oct. 24, just their second victory in the past seven meetings overall. Montreal has lost four of its past six in Anaheim.