Leafs Aim To Deny Soaring Ducks
DUCKS (7-1-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (6-3-0)
TV: PRIME, SNET-O
Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. In their most recent matchup, on Nov. 27, 2011, Tyler Bozak scored a pair of goals to lead the Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win at Honda Center.
Big story: When the Ducks and Maple Leafs last met, Randy Carlyle was in his final days as Anaheim's coach. He was fired on Nov. 30, 2011, and replaced by Bruce Boudreau. Carlyle wouldn't be out of a job for long, as he was hired by Toronto on March 2, 2012. Due to the shortened 2012-13 season in which teams played only inside their own conference, this will be the first time Carlyle coaches against the Ducks, a team he led to the 2007 Stanley Cup title.
Ducks: Since an opening night loss in Colorado it's been seven wins in as many games for Anaheim, which is doing all it can to keep pace with red-hot San Jose in the Pacific Division.
This will be the start of an eight-game road trip that figures to test the Ducks' mettle. They completed the sweep on a five-game homestand Sunday by doubling up the Dallas Stars, 6-3. The top line was at its best, with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combining for three goals and seven points. The Ducks spotted the Stars a 3-1 lead before going on a five-goal blitz over the final 40 minutes. Rookie Frederik Andersen stopped all 24 shots he faced in relief of Jonas Hiller to win his NHL debut.
"Everybody took more responsibilities, and we started doing the things we need to do to get better," said Teemu Selanne, who had Anaheim's first goal. "It was a good character win, coming back from two goals. This team never stopped believing we could come back, even last year. That's the one strength we have right now."
Maple Leafs: Over its first seven games Toronto scored 27 goals, an average of nearly four per game, and won six times. The Maple Leafs have been held to three goals over their past 120 minutes of play, losing to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Jonathan Bernier had a strong effort against the defending Stanley Cup champions, but a three-goal second period by the Blackhawks in a game where they outshot the Maple Leafs 40-20 was enough to send Toronto to a 3-1 defeat. Nazem Kadri had the only goal for the visitors.
"We'll try to review and reset, revisit," Carlyle said in The Toronto Star. "We believe we can go in and outwork hockey clubs. I don't believe we outworked the Chicago Blackhawks (on Saturday)."
Who's hot: Selanne has goals in three straight games for the Ducks. He has six points (three goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak. … Joffrey Lupul, who assisted on Kadri's goal against the Blackhawks, leads the Maple Leafs with 10 points.
Injury report: Anaheim forward Dustin Penner left Sunday's game with an upper-body injury. Goalie Viktor Fasth missed the game with a lower-body injury. Defensemen Luca Sbisa (ankle) and Sheldon Souray (wrist) and forward Matt Beleskey (upper body) are also sidelined. … Toronto defenseman Mark Fraser (knee) and forwards Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) and Frazer McLaren (hand) are on injured reserve. Forward David Clarkson will be finished serving his 10-game suspension after Monday.