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Struggling Oilers travel to Anaheim to face streaking Ducks

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The Sports Network
1/3/2014 10:54:31 AM
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The Edmonton Oilers sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with 31 points and are just 2-7-2 in their last 11. They had followed up a pair of victories with back-to-back losses beyond regulation before a 5-1 setback to the Sharks last night. Their next task is a hot Anaheim Ducks team that are coming off a terrific month of December.

Nail Yakupov, a healthy scratch in Edmonton's previous game on Tuesday, had the lone Oilers goal and Devan Dubnyk yielded five goals on 36 shots.

San Jose scored a pair of goals just 49 seconds apart in the first period and went up 4-0 by the 8:45 mark of the second.

"We were playing fine until that second goal," Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said.

The Oilers and Ducks met for the first time this season on Dec. 15 in Anaheim, with the Ducks logging a 3-2 win. Hiller made 23 saves, moving to 12-3-0 with a 1.79 goals against average and two shutouts in his career versus Edmonton.

Ilya Bryzgalov got the start for the Oilers and yielded three goals on 34 shots against his former club. He could get the start tonight and is 13-9-2 with a 2.65 GAA versus Anaheim, which took him in the second round of the 2000 draft.

The Pacific Division-leading Ducks meanwhile look to keep their season-opening point streak at home alive on Friday playing host to the struggling Oilers.

Anaheim goes into 2014 as the only team in the league having yet to lose a regulation game at home. The Ducks are 15-0-2 at the Honda Center, just the third team in the NHL in 25 years to begin a campaign with a home point streak of 17 games or more. They join the 2008-09 San Jose Sharks (20-0-2) and the 1988-89 Calgary Flames (14-0-3).

The Ducks went 11-1-1 in December, notching a club-record 10 straight wins prior to a road loss in San Jose on Sunday. They bounced back to split the home-and-home set, besting the Sharks 6-3 on Tuesday.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists, while Matt Beleskey and Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist each. Jonas Hiller made 33 saves to win his club- record ninth straight decision, getting full credit from Getzlaf afterwards.

"If you look at their numbers, they're crazy in the first period. (Hiller) did an unbelievable job keeping us in the first period," noted Getzlaf. "We could've easily been down a couple goals, at least. That's what it takes to beat good teams. You need good goaltending, and our guys reacted well."

The Ducks have a five-point lead over the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and trail the Chicago Blackhawks' 64 points by one for the most in the NHL.

The Ducks have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 meetings with the Oilers, taking six of the last eight played at home.

Justin Schultz (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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