Ducks battling for playoff spot as they host Canucks


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Ducks continue a pivotal four-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night at Honda Center.

The Ducks (34-24-12) lost to the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Monday night, extending their losing streak to three games and evened their record in March to 3-3-0. The Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period and never trailed. Center Derek Grant got Anaheim to within 3-2 at 6:15 of the third period but a defensive zone giveaway by defenseman Kevin Bieksa led directly to a goal by the Blues' Patrick Berglund at 11:28 of the final period that sealed the victory.

The loss was costly for Anaheim, knocking them out of third place in the Pacific and out of a playoff spot in combination with the Los Angeles Kings' victory over the Canucks. The disappointment over the defeat focused on the team's mental approach against a St. Louis team that had only won twice in its last 11 games.

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Center Ryan Getzlaf registered an assist against St. Louis and has 15 points in his last eight games (3 goals, 13 assists). He said that more consistency is needed in the on-ice decision-making process to snap the losing streak and climb back into playoff position.

"We need to figure it out mentally, everything we're doing is mental mistakes," Getzlaf said. "It's not anything to do with physical fatigue. We're working and doing things but it's the mental errors that aren't allowing us to continue our success. It's not a frustration with our effort. It's a frustration with the fact that we're having trouble understanding what it takes shift in and shift out every period at this time of year. That's the frustrating part we have to address and make sure we're doing that on a consistent basis."

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle concurred with Getzlaf and noted that execution is at a premium with just a dozen regular-season games remaining.

"We need to understand there is a certain type of game that's being played right now," Carlyle said. "We've given the opposition too many gifts in the last little while. Those are mental breakdowns that have to be corrected."

The Canucks (25-36-9) were shut out for the second consecutive game by Los Angeles, 3-0 on Monday night, their fourth straight loss and seventh in their last eight games. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick turned aside 35 Vancouver shots to extend the Canucks' scoreless streak to 152:51 of play. Jussi Jokinen registered the last Canucks goal in Friday's 5-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild.

With leading scorer Brock Boeser sidelined for the rest of the season with a back injury, the Canucks lack the offensive depth to threaten playoff contenders like Anaheim in their remaining games.

While the results have not been there for his team over the past two weeks, Vancouver coach Travis Green remains optimistic as the Canucks play out the string.

"I actually talked to the team tonight after the game," Green said. "I liked our effort tonight. It's a tough game to come into after playing last night, against a team (Los Angeles) that lost 7-2 at home, battling to get into the playoffs. It was a pretty good effort. A couple breakdowns for goals that I wasn't crazy about, but that's going to happen and we didn't get a bounce. We hit the post and things could have been different if we had gotten a bounce or two."

Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot echoes Green's sentiments. He sees no quit in his team and is hoping for better puck luck against the Ducks.

"The effort is there, but we have to find ways to create more offense," Pouliot said. "We need more sustained offense, getting one or two or three chances per shift or per line. You can't win if you don't score. The effort is there, we just have to find ways to convert."

The Ducks have won both of the previous meetings this season, 4-1 on Nov. 9 in Anaheim and 5-0 in Vancouver on Jan. 2. The teams will meet for a final time on March 27 at Rogers Arena.

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