January 06, 2015

The Anaheim Ducks put an end to their scoring struggles in emphatic fashion. That could prove to be bad news for the New York Rangers, who haven't been particularly tight defensively in recent games.

The Ducks try for a split of the season series Wednesday night when they face a Rangers team looking to avoid a third straight loss in the opener of their three-game California road trip.

Anaheim (38-21-9) scored three goals in an 0-2-1 stretch before breaking out against New Jersey on Monday, earning a 7-1 rout that marked its highest goal total since a 9-1 win over Vancouver on Jan. 15, 2014.

Jakob Silfverberg had three goals and an assist while Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler added a goal and two assists apiece, giving the Ducks' checking line 10 points.

"It's a good bounce-back for us," Silfverberg told the team's official website. "We've got to keep going though, and not be too satisfied."

The Ducks scored one more goal than they did in their previous four games. They've allowed two or fewer goals 10 times in the past 12.

"It's nice for the confidence," Kesler said of his usually defense-first forward trio. "My line is usually trying to shut down the other team's top line every night. This time we went on the attack."

Helping it do that was Kesler's work on faceoffs. He went 19 of 23 and is among the league leaders at 58.9 percent.

Anaheim is 9-0-1 in its last 10 at home, outscoring opponents 33-14 in non-shootout goals in that span.

The Rangers have to be hoping that the Ducks got the offense out of their system against the Devils. New York (39-23-7) lost 5-3 to Pittsburgh on Sunday and has allowed 22 goals in its last six, going 2-3-1.

Particularly disconcerting about the latest defeat was the Rangers' drop-off in play after the first period. New York had 19 shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes but was outshot 20-8 the rest of the way, including 10-2 in the second.

"Well there's definitely some concern in how we played in the second and third after a real strong first period where, other than our penalty killing, I thought we carried the play," coach Alain Vigneault told the team's website. "We had some real good looks, were playing north-south quickly, were getting the pucks deep (in the first period). We just didn't sustain it."

The Rangers, locked in a tight battle with the Islanders for the second playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime Dec. 22 for their third straight victory in the series. New York won 4-1 in its most recent visit to Honda Center on Jan. 7, 2015.

Derick Brassard scored for the third straight game Sunday and has five points in a four-game streak. He scored twice Dec. 22 and has four goals and an assist in his last three against Anaheim.

Derek Stepan has three goals and six assists in his last eight contests, while Keith Yandle has a goal and four assists in a five-game point streak.

Henrik Lundqvist has lost three straight starts with a 3.71 goals-against average, so he's expected to get the night off in favor of Antti Raanta, who is 4-1-0 with a .927 save percentage over his last five starts.

He'll be opposed by John Gibson, who started the Dec. 22 matchup and made 19 saves.

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