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Ducks Host Wild Hoping To Snap Four-Game Skid

(Sports Network) - After allowing 24 goals over a four-game losing streak, the Anaheim Ducks addressed their goaltending issues on Thursday. Next up on the list is halting the second-longest losing streak of the season as they host the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Honda Center. No. 1 netminder Jonas Hiller has missed four straight and seven of the Ducks' last eight games due to lightheadedness and fatigue and it is unknown when he can return. Curtis McElhinney started the last four games after Hiller went back on injured reserve, but posted a 5.76 goals-against average and was traded to the Lightning on Thursday for goaltender Dan Ellis.

Anaheim got a good look at Ellis during his time in Nashville and the netminder was 13-7-6 with a 2.93 GAA in 31 games with the Lightning this year. "We are excited to acquire a goaltender of Dan's caliber, someone we feel can help us immediately," said Ducks executive vice president and general manager Bob Murray. "He has experience playing in big games down the stretch."

Ellis could get the start tonight seeing as backup Ray Emery, who was recalled on Wednesday after making three starts in the American Hockey League, hasn't played an NHL game since Feb. 1 of last year due to a hip injury. Ellis is 2-4-0 with a 3.32 GAA in his career versus Minnesota. Anaheim's current skid includes a 5-1 loss in Minnesota on Feb. 18, but the Ducks did log a 6-2 win when the clubs last met in Anaheim on Dec. 12. Corey Perry led the way with his first career hat trick and two assists to give the Ducks their third straight home win over the Wild, but Minnesota has taken six of the past nine overall meetings.

Perry scored his 31st goal of the season in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Kings, leaving him one shy of his single-season career high set in 2008-09. Teemu Selanne netted the 626th goal of his career to pass Joe Sakic for 14th on the league's all-time list, but McElhinney made just 15 saves in the loss. "It was very disappointing," Selanne said. "I think we played good enough to win the game. The goals matter. They got three and we got two. It was a better effort and that is what we have to build on. We have to stay positive."

Regardless, the Ducks are two points back of five other teams for the final three postseason spots in the Western Conference and hope to have their two top centers back this evening. Ryan Getzlaf did not play on Wednesday after his wife gave birth to the couple's first child that morning, while Saku Koivu was a late scratch with a groin injury. Both players are questionable for tonight. Anaheim, which is on its longest slide since an 0-4-2 stretch from Nov. 14-26, lost the opener of a seven-game homestand.

The Wild are one of those five teams ahead of the Ducks even though they have lost four of their past six games. Their most recent defeat came last night, a 4-2 setback in Los Angeles. Brent Burns had a goal and also assisted on Eric Nystrom's tally, while Niklas Backstrom made 26 saves. "The guys played hard all the way to the end," Wild head coach Todd Richards said. "It was a pretty intense, pretty physical game. I'm proud of the way the guys battled. It wasn't an easy game and we stuck with it all the way to the end, we just came up a little short."

Minnesota, which is two points behind fifth-place Los Angeles, was without defenseman Cam Barker (upper body) and forward Kyle Brodziak (illness) and both skaters are questionable for tonight. Brodziak had a goal and two assists in Minnesota's win over Anaheim last week. Backstrom made 29 saves and improved to 7-4-0 with a 2.42 GAA lifetime versus the club.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.