Ryan, Sens try to extend Ducks' recent struggles

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators hope to build off an impressive victory when they host the suddenly-struggling Anaheim Ducks in Friday's battle at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Senators seem to be working their way out of an early-season slump, winning three of their last four games after beginning 2013-14 with a 1-2-2 record.

The Senators put forth a strong effort in a road win over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, dealing former teammate Daniel Alfredsson's new club a lopsided loss in his first game against his old franchise.

Alfredsson sent waves through the NHL, especially in Ottawa, when he departed the Sens as a free agent by signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal with Detroit on July 5. It ended a relationship with the city and franchise that began when the Senators took the Swede in the sixth round of the 1994 draft.

Ottawa's former longtime captain couldn't have liked what he saw on Wednesday, as the younger Sens slammed his veteran-laden club. Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan each picked up a pair of goals as the Sens downed Detroit in the first meeting between the new Atlantic Division rivals.

"I would have loved to win this one no question," Alfredsson said after the blowout loss.

Eric Gryba and Jared Cowen added tallies for Ottawa, with Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson contributing two helpers apiece towards the one. Craig Anderson made 31 saves, upping his record to 4-1-2.

"I think we finally played a full 60-minute game," Ryan said. "We've seemed to put parts of it together in the past and gotten away from it, and tonight we didn't. Even when we got up a few, we kept the pedal down, essentially, and that was important."

Ryan will play his second career game against the Ducks on Friday after being dealt from Anaheim to Ottawa in a blockbuster trade over the summer. Ryan scored one of his six goals this season in a 4-1 loss at Anaheim on Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, former Senators prospect Jakob Silfverberg will return to Ottawa for the first time as a member of the Ducks. Silfverberg, a second-round pick by Ottawa in 2009, has four goals and three assists this season, but failed to record a point when he faced his old team on Oct. 13

The win over Ottawa earlier this month gave the Ducks victories in three straight and six of the last seven meetings between the clubs. Anaheim also has claimed victory in its past three trips to Ottawa.

The Ducks had tied a franchise record with seven straight wins before setting out on an eight-game road trip. Anaheim has lost both tilts so far on the lengthy swing, dropping road tests at Toronto and Montreal.

After getting beat 4-2 by the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Ducks were back in action Thursday in Montreal, but were handed a 4-1 setback by the Canadiens. Tomas Plekanec had one goal and two assists to lead the Habs to the easy win at the Bell Centre.

Patrick Maroon scored the lone goal for the Ducks, who fell to 2-3-0 on the road this season. Jonas Hiller allowed all four goals on 25 shots in the setback.

Anaheim forward Saku Koivu, who served as the Canadiens' captain from 1999-2009, returned to Montreal for the second time in a Ducks' uniform and was named the Third Star.

"When you lose, you never expect to be a post game star. It was emotional, the whole building was behind me," he said.

Thursday's game may have marked the final stop in Montreal for Koivu, who will turn 39 years in late November. Anaheim won't play another game in Montreal during the regular season, but the Ducks are scheduled to host the Canadiens on March 5.

After tonight's third stop, the Ducks will continue their trek with Sunday's game in Columbus.