February 24, 2015

The Ottawa Senators have had some embarrassing showings at both ends of the ice lately. Offensive inconsistency has been stopping the Anaheim Ducks from turning promising showings into a substantial run.

The two meet Wednesday night in Anaheim with each club looking to avoid a second straight loss.

The Senators (20-17-6) fell 7-1 in Washington on Sunday and have been outscored 26-11 in a 2-5-0 span. It was the second time they've allowed seven goals in that stretch, both coming on the road.

Ottawa has gone 2-9-1 away from home since starting the season 7-2-1 there.

"This league is about balance, finding balance, and we have to find our balance," coach Dave Cameron told the team's official website. "It's an individual thing more than anything. We're not going to beat them to death over this one. It's done.

"For the most part, your game plans don't change. Your team plays basically the same way, the same system, because you give your system around your team and what you have. The challenge is going to be the perseverance part. They have to have the ability to let it go and not beat themselves up over it. Can they? Well, that's an individual thing."

Mike Hoffman scored for Ottawa on Sunday and has been an individual bright spot. His 20 goals in 39 games are seven shy of his career-best 79-game total from last season, and his team-best plus-11 rating looks all the more impressive considering the Senators' minus-11 mark in non-shootout goals.

Their 15-goal scoring discrepancy in the last seven games is due in part to a 2-for-23 power-play effort and 15-for-23 performance on the penalty kill. They seem unlikely to become more productive with the man advantage against Anaheim, which has killed off all 26 penalties over the last seven games.

The Ducks (17-17-7) reached the halfway point in their season with Sunday's 2-1 home loss to Detroit, and they've split the first four of a season-high eight-game homestand. Anaheim has managed to go 5-2-1 in its last eight despite scoring 15 goals and getting limited to one or no goals five times.

"The margin of error is very slim when you're averaging less than two goals a game," said coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team has a league-worst 1.85 mark. "We had opportunities to score. We just didn't finish."

Corey Perry did once and has three goals in his last four games, but he's the only Duck with more than eight goals while every other team in the league has at least two 10-goal scorers.

Ryan Getzlaf has been part of the drop-off with three goals in 37 contests, and his 0.68 points per game matches his rookie mark for the lowest of his 11-season career.

Ottawa won both matchups last season by a 9-2 total. Andrew Hammond made 25 saves in a 3-0 win at Anaheim on Feb. 25, but he allowed all of the goals against the Capitals.

Craig Anderson is expected to return to the net with a chance at his 200th victory after ending a three-game losing streak with a 33-save effort in Saturday's 2-1 home win over Boston. Anderson has dropped his last five road starts with a 3.58 goals-against average and is 3-8-0 with a 3.25 mark against the Ducks.

Anaheim All-Star John Gibson hasn't given up more than three goals all season and has a 1.64 GAA in a 5-2-0 span.

You May Like