After extending their winning streak to five games, the Anaheim Ducks may not have wanted their team-record nine-game road trip to come to an end.
They open a season-high seven-game homestand on Friday night against the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars, who are coming off a rare loss.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Ducks (32-22-7) opened the swing with four consecutive losses, running their season-high slide to six. They outscored their opponents 14-5 in sweeping three games in the New York metropolitan area and at league-leading Detroit before a 2-1 win at Colorado on Tuesday.
Anaheim now is in position to match its season-high six-game winning streak set from Jan. 7-18.
“Unbelievable road trip,” Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne said. “You don’t see that very often. We finished up very strong. We won the last five; that’s a good sign.”
The winning streak has coincided with Selanne’s return to the team after he sat out the first 56 games while contemplating retirement.
“I’m not 100 percent,” said Selanne, who will make his home debut after signing a one-year deal on Jan. 28. “I have to be patient. There’s still a price to pay, but it’s getting better. It’s like training camp.”
On Tuesday, he scored his first goal of the season, giving him three points in five games. He is now tied with Paul Kariya as the Ducks’ career leader in points with 669. Selanne’s 541 career goals ties him with Stan Mikita for 26th on the all-time list, three goals behind Maurice Richard.
Selanne, though, has only one goal and four assists in his last nine games against Dallas (35-20-5), which holds a four-point advantage over second-place Anaheim in the Pacific
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 32 saves Tuesday, will try to help the Ducks close that gap. He’s 4-0-1 with an 0.79 goals-against average in his last five games. That is in stark contrast to his previous four - all losses with a 4.21 GAA, including a 5-2 road defeat to the Stars on Jan. 20.
The goaltender hasn’t fared well against them in all five meetings this season, getting pulled in two and going 1-4-0 with a 3.64 GAA. His lone victory, though, came at Honda Center on Jan. 15 when he made 22 saves in a 4-2 win.
Dallas is looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss at Phoenix on Thursday after opening the home-and-home set with a 2-1 victory on Monday to equal its franchise-record seven-game winning streak.
“We need to compete at a higher level,” Stars center Mike Modano said. “We cannot rely on play-making, and skill will not win many games.”
Brenden Morrow has been a force in helping the Stars go 10-2-0 over the last 12 games. The left wing has eight goals and four assists in that span, giving him a team-leading 24 goals and 55 points, which rank him second on the club behind Mike Ribeiro (64).
Morrow is one goal shy of his career-high set during the 2003-04 season. He has five goals in his last six games against the Ducks, including a two-goal performance on Jan. 20.
However, he has only scored four times in 20 career games at Anaheim.
Ribeiro was held pointless in the two games against Phoenix. The center has two goals and five assists in five meetings with the Ducks this season.