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Skating with the Stars

Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 2:52 PM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
Skating with the Stars

More of this tonight, please.
When a team is as hot as the Anaheim Ducks have been lately, it seems like the only thing that can stop them is time. A few hours from now in Dallas, the Ducks can only hope to keep things rolling before they have a whole week until their next game during the upcoming All-Star break.

“You and I know where we are,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “Every game is important. It’s important to finish strong before the break and come out of the gate the way you want to. It’s a big emphasis on Tuesday’s game and get ready for the break.”

We've said it before in this space, but it's fun to repeat: The Ducks are riding a wave in which they've won five in a row and eight of their last nine. And a team that once had gone through a terrible time on the road has put together a nice little run of three wins in the last four away games. The only outlier was a 1-0 overtime loss in Calgary, in which Anaheim still managed a point.

That string will be on the line tonight in Dallas, where it's Steve Ott Bobblehead Night (I've got to get me one of those). The Stars are in a little bit of a tailspin, having lost five in a row to fall to 11th in the Western Conference (the Ducks are seven points behind them in 13th). And to add injury to insult, top scorer Jamie Benn has been out since January 15 after undergoing an appendectomy, and captain Brendan Morrow was played on IR with a neck issue. Mike Ribeiro, who has been a bit of a nuisance for the Ducks in the past, will be in there tonight after missing seven games with a knee injury. Ribeiro, by the way, scored two goals apiece in the two games before going down with the injury.

Toni Lydman, who missed Sunday's win over Colorado with the flu, will be back in there tonight. Here's the expected lineup:

Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry
Hagman-Koivu-Selanne
Blake-Bonino-Cogliano
Pelley-Bell-Parros

Beauchemin-Fowler
Sbisa-Visnovsky
Lydman-Brookbank

Hiller

The Ducks know full well that despite the progress they've made this month, there is still a heck of a way to go before they truly get back into contention.

“Our goal going into this was to win out before the All-Star break,” Bobby Ryan said. “We talked about it. That was something we were setting our sights on. So to be three-quarters of the way there with one game left is an important feeling.

“I think we’re starting to narrowly push at it. We’ve got a tough task ahead of us. Every two points going forward is going to be monumental.”

Bruce Boudreau, in a quite enjoyable interview on Ducks Weekly on SiriusXM, said of his team, "They're starting to believe in themselves. It's good to see them coming to the rink smiling every day. We've still got a huge mountain to climb. We know it's a long shot, but if you just keep winning…eventually you can look up. We've won a lot recently, we just want to continue it."

Boudreau also had some pretty satisfying things to say about how Ducks players tend to get overshadowed, notably Jonas Hiller not getting recognized by the NHL for his play of the last week. "Just being out here for a short period of time and being in Washington for four years, it's easy to see that the Eastern teams get a definite advantage when it comes to publicity. Anaheim is not exactly in the limelight, so you sort of overlook guys who have done really well."

Whether he's getting the recognition league-wide or not, Ducks fans know how huge Hiller has been. He sets up between the pipes tonight having posted a .955 save percentage and 1.33 goals-against average the last six games. He hasn't lost in 2012, a year that has been friendly to the Ducks, and will hopefully get even friendlier tonight.


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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 59 19 39 9 58
C. Perry 47 24 17 12 41
R. Kesler 62 15 22 -4 37
S. Vatanen 57 12 22 6 34
M. Beleskey 56 21 9 13 30
P. Maroon 54 7 21 -3 28
H. Lindholm 59 6 22 19 28
J. Silfverberg 61 9 17 7 26
C. Fowler 61 5 21 -5 26
K. Palmieri 37 12 11 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 29 8 5 .916 2.37
J. Gibson 6 5 0 .915 2.69

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