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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 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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