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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 31st (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (23-7-4) at Columbus Blue Jackets (14-14-7), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks try to put their worst losing streak of the season further behind them on Sunday evening when they visit the playoff- hopeful Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Ducks snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday with a 2-1 victory over the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim won all three of its meetings with Chicago this season and pulled within three points of the 'Hawks for first place in the conference.
Corey Perry had a goal and Sheldon Souray blasted home the game-winner with 2:08 to play, connecting on a shot from the left point. Jonas Hiller made 25 saves for the Ducks, who hadn't lost consecutive games in regulation this season prior to the four-game slide.
"That's the way we have to play," said Perry. "I thought we had a great game tonight. We were in on the forecheck, we were playing with the puck."
The Ducks put the pressure on the Blackhawks in the standings and also lead the Los Angeles Kings by nine points for first place in the Pacific Division. They play the third of a four-game road trip on Sunday and are just 3-2-3 in their past eight as the guest.
The Blue Jackets return home after snapping a three-game slide with Friday's 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in the finale of a four-game road trip. Columbus took control with a four-goal second period and got 29 saves from Steve Mason.
Vinny Prospal, R.J. Umberger and Mark Letestu all had a goal and an assist, with Prospal scoring in the second period along with Matt Calvert, Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen.
"It's a big two points for us and a good way to close out this road trip," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards.
The Blue Jackets, hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and for only the second time in club history, are tied for ninth in the West with three other teams, one point back of a playoff spot.
Both forward Jared Boll and defenseman Tim Erixon suffered upper body injuries against the Flames.
While the Blue Jackets have split their last six at home versus the Ducks, Anaheim is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings overall and recorded a 3-2 home victory in Feb. 18 in the first of three meetings this season.
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, while Perry also scored and Hiller made 25 saves.
Prospal and Brassard scored for the Blue Jackets, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots in defeat.
03/31 10:24:12 ET