The Anaheim Ducks are quickly realizing that a balanced scoring attack could lead them to their best season yet.
The Ducks look to further their fast start Wednesday when they host the New York Rangers in the first meeting between the teams since 2003.
Anaheim (9-0-3) and Buffalo are tied for the NHL lead with 21 points apiece and are the only two teams without a loss in regulation. The Ducks have achieved that success despite Teemu Selanne’s inability to find the back of the net.
Selanne, who led Anaheim with 40 goals and 90 points last season, recorded nine goals and five assists in October 2005, when the team went 6-5-1. Selanne has just one goal and seven assists thus far, but the Ducks have proven nearly unbeatable.
“We need the depth obviously,” said Selanne, who has 14 goals and nine assists in 18 career games against the Rangers. “Our line hasn’t sparked just yet. Our team is winning and that’s what matters.”
Although he didn’t record a goal in regulation Monday, Selanne did score in the shootout to lead the Ducks to a 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Ryan Getzlaf also scored in the shootout, and five different players netted a goal in regulation as Anaheim won despite matching a season high with the five goals allowed.
“It’s just one of those games,” said Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who is 7-0-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average. “I’m not going to beat myself up because I gave five goals. The key thing is we got the win.”
Giguere has lost all three career starts against the Rangers (5-6-0) and posted a 3.93 GAA in four appearances.
New York started its four-game road trip with a 7-3 victory over Phoenix, but went 0-for-9 on the power play in Monday’s 4-1 loss at Los Angeles.
“We don’t have a single easy game this season, based on how we have chosen to play so far,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “Not that any game is easy, but you can make life a lot easier on yourself if you would just check in with the commitment of playing hard, playing together and avoiding the penalty box. It’ll kill you every time.”
Brendan Shanahan was the lone bright spot for Renney’s squad Monday, scoring his team-leading 10th goal and 608th of his career. He tied Dino Ciccarelli for 13th all-time and pulled within two of Bobby Hull.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who is 5-5-0 with a 3.57 GAA, has never faced the Ducks. He won’t have defenseman Darius Kasparaitis after the veteran was sent down to Hartford of the AHL Tuesday for a 10-day conditioning stint.
Anaheim is opening a three-game homestand, where it has outscored opponents 12-4 during a current three-game winning streak. The Ducks are 6-1-1 in eight home games against the Rangers and won the last meeting between the teams, 3-1, on Oct. 28, 2003, in New York.