“I don’t know if there is a good time” to face the Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Getzlaf said Thursday, but tomorrow might be as good as any for the Ducks.
They have won three of four to start their current homestand. Even the lone loss, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of San Jose on Saturday, was “the best game we played this year,” in the words of head coach Randy Carlyle. Their two wins since, a pair of 3-2 decisions against Calgary and Carolina, matched the Ducks’ longest winning streak in a difficult season.
To win an unprecedented third straight, they’ll have to slow a runaway L-train that has won eight in a row, including a 7-2 blowout Wednesday in San Jose.
“It’s an opportunity to see how far we’ve come,” Carlyle said. “We have to go in with some desperation, and some commitment to playing a very high level of game, maybe the highest level we’ve played this year.”
The comparisons between the Blackhawks and Sharks, the top two teams record-wise in the Western Conference, are many.
“You’d think so,” defenseman James Wisniewski said. “They’ve got a lot of firepower. Three or four lines can score goals.”
Six different Blackhawks scored Wednesday in San Jose, including checking-liners John Madden, Troy Brouwer and Dustin Byfuglien.
But as it was when Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley rolled in to town with the Sharks, the focus will be on how the opponent’s top line fares against the Ducks’ Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.
Chicago has the luxury of pairing Marian Hossa — who scored twice in his season debut Wednesday — with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
“They’re world class players,” Carlyle said. “They brought Hossa there for that specific reason.”
Said Getzlaf, “They’re a lot like that Thornton line in the fact that they’re all scorers, they can all move the puck and you need to be aware where they are on the ice.”
“They have a tendency to find each other,” he continued. “We’ll take it a lot like approaching Thornton and those guys, playing that physical game and playing with the puck as much as we can.”
Three different forward lines produced goals in the Ducks’ 3-2 win Wednesday over the Carolina Hurricanes. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 28 saves to earn his second win this season; both have come in his last two starts.
This is the fifth time the Ducks have hosted the Blackhawks the day after Thanksgiving, with the Ducks having won the last three such games (3-1-0 overall). The last such instance was in a 1-0 Anaheim victory on Nov. 28, 2008 at Honda Center. All-time, the Ducks have hosted nine games the day after Thanksgiving (all day games), going 5-1-3. Overall, Anaheim owns a 7-2-4 record in day-after-Thanksgiving games, outscoring the opposition 36-29.