Red-hot Devils host surging Ducks
Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:06 PM
DUCKS (24-24-9) at DEVILS (32-20-4)
MSG PLUS RADIO:
WFAN 660 AM
Anaheim 6-2-2; New Jersey 6-2-2
This is the first and only meeting. In their one matchup last season, the Devils came away with a 2-1 victory in Anaheim on Oct. 29, 2011, on Patrik Elias
' game-winner 1:54 into the third period.
The Ducks continue a stretch of eight consecutive games away from home, matching the longest uninterrupted road trip in club history. The team is currently 3-0-1 on the trip and has won 14 of its last 19 games. The Ducks have picked up 33 of a possible 40 points since they began their recent surge up the Western Conference standings on Jan. 6 with a 4-2 victory against the New York Islanders. Following their visit to Newark, the Ducks travel to Florida on Sunday, Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Carolina on Thursday. The team then gets a two-day break before playing host to Chicago on Feb. 26.
A 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday gave the Ducks a 5-0-2 mark over their last seven games, while posting a 7-1-3 record in the last 11 road games. Teemu Selanne scored his 656th goal to tie Brendan Shanahan for 12th on the all-time list. His goal 7:51 into the third snapped a 1-1 tie. The Ducks, who began the season 6-13-4, have climbed to within six points of the Western Conference's final playoff spot by going 14-2-3 in their last 19 contests.
Devils: Ilya Kovalchuk
scored his 12th career hat trick and his first as a New Jersey Devil on Tuesday in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. His last goal came with just nine seconds remaining in regulation off an unselfish pass by captain Zach Parise
. The Devils have now won five straight on the road and are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games away from Prudential Center. Kovalchuk's hat trick was the club's first since Patrik Elias
connected for three against the Flyers on April 1, 2011.
Kovalchuk has 13 goals and 26 points in his last 17 games, including 10 multiple-point games. He leads the Devils with 25 goals and 56 points in 51 games. … Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is 12-2-3 in his last 18 games, with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He has allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts.
New Jersey defenseman Adam Larsson
has missed the last six games with a bruised lower back. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder
(blood clot) and forwards Travis Zajac
(Achilles) and Ryan Carter
(broken finger) are on injured reserve. … Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis (groin) is out.
Devils left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky
, who was acquired by the team via trade on Jan. 20, has recorded 7 points and a plus-6 rating in the last seven games. He has 2 goals, 8 points and a plus-5 rating in 10 games since the trade.
Bruce Boudreau, who was named the eighth head coach in Ducks history on Nov. 30, is 17-11-5 since taking over behind the bench. … The Devils notched their 32nd win of the year on Tuesday. The club didn't earn their 32nd victory last season until March 12; ultimately finishing with 38 wins and missing the postseason.