Blackhawks-Ducks Preview

The Associated Press

After initially playing well in captain Jonathan Toews' absence, the Chicago Blackhawks have fallen flat in their past two games.

Having won all of their matchups with Anaheim this season, the Blackhawks would appear to have a chance for a better performance Sunday night, but a surging Ducks team might prove a little more difficult to beat this time.

The Blackhawks topped rival Detroit 2-1 for their fourth straight win Tuesday with Toews out reportedly because of a concussion. He was also involved in a minor car accident while on his way to Thursday's home game against Dallas.

Chicago (33-23-7) gave up three third-period goals during a 3-1 defeat to the Stars but performed even worse Saturday in Los Angeles to open a two-game stay in southern California.

Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing all of the Kings' goals in the first 27 minutes of a 4-0 defeat. The Blackhawks also went 0 for 6 on the power play while enduring their seventh shutout this season and are now 0 for 37 with a man advantage over the last 13 games.

"It's frustrating, because we're just not working hard enough on the power play," defenseman Brent Seabrook said.

Chicago will seek to bounce back with a fourth win this season over Anaheim (26-25-10), but the Ducks are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and 8-1-1 in their past 10 home games.

After suffering a rare regulation loss in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Anaheim wrapped up its season-high, eight-game trip at 5-1-2 with a 3-2 shootout victory over Carolina two days later.

Corey Perry scored the tying goal nearly midway through the third period, and Saku Koivu was the only player for either team to convert in the tiebreaker. That helped the Ducks improve to 2-22-2 when trailing after two periods.

"I think everyone was a little tired, which is not too surprising after such a long road trip, but we found a way to win," goaltender Jonas Hiller said.

Once thought to be out of the playoff race, the Ducks are within six points of the eighth-place teams in the West. The Blackhawks are in sixth and five points up on a playoff spot.

It might be up to former Ducks goaltender Ray Emery to help his team move a little closer to a fourth consecutive posteason berth. Emery stopped all 20 shots he faced after replacing Crawford on Saturday, but he's 0-4-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average in his last four starts.

Emery stopped 24 shots in the previous matchup with his former team, a 4-1 win at the United Center on Dec. 16.

The Ducks might look again to Hiller, who is 13-3-4 with a 1.76 GAA in his last 20 games. However, he's given up a combined nine goals in his last two games against Chicago and was pulled from a 6-5 home loss to the Blackhawks on Nov. 25.

Chicago rallied from a 4-2 deficit in that game with two goals from Toews in the final period and two more from Patrick Sharp, who recorded his second career hat trick. Sharp has 12 goals and eight assists in his last 17 games against Anaheim.

The Ducks' Teemu Selanne has scored in each of the three matchups this season.

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