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Ride the Lightning

Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 7:38 AM PT
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady

As Ducks fans, we're suddenly doing something we never thought possibly a couple of months ago.

No, not just watching our team win at an alarming pace, but suddenly doing some serious scoreboard watching as the Ducks look to make this incredible climb into playoff position.

While the Ducks were 20 points out of the eighth spot as of the morning of January 6, they have gone on a 15-2-4 run over their last 21 games, the most recent being an impressive 2-0 shutout of the Panthers in Florida on Sunday. ("It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.") Anaheim has gotten to within five points of the eighth spot over that stretch, but still has plenty of work left. 

That's because the Ducks are crammed into a typically packed Western Conference in which everybody seemingly beats up on everybody else night after night (including an abundance of three-point games that finish in either OT or shootout). They're battling alongside teams like LA, Dallas, Colorado and MInnesota to get into that top eight, with Phoenix and Calgary holding onto playoff spots by a thread.

Should the Ducks win tonight in Tampa Bay (4:30 Pacific puck drop) they would get within three points (three points!) of that eighth spot -- incredible considering where they were six weeks ago. But that could be short-lived as the NHL schedule tonight also includes Dallas at Montreal, Edmonton at Calgary, and LA at Phoenix.

All that being said, you better believe the rest of the West is well aware of the charging Ducks (tip of the cap to Eric Stephens for the "Objects in the mirror are indeed closer than they appear" line in the OC Register over the weekend).

"It's nice to get to the 60-point plateau because then you can at least see the guys and the distance," Bruce Boudreau said in the wake of that win in Florida. "It still a long ways away."

Indeed, the Ducks have been winning, but they need to keep winning, starting with tonight in Tampa, where the Lightning are engaged in their own battle for playoff position in the East (six points short of eighth).

The Ducks will go with the hottest goalie in the league in Jonas Hiller, who just took NHL first star of the week honors with a 3-0-1 record, 0.98 goals-against average, .961 save percentage and one shutout. Meanwhile, the Lightning are likely to start former King Mathieu Garon (18-15-4, 2.84 GAA), who has been in there for all but two games in the last month, as veteran Dwayne Roloson (8-11-2, 3.67 GAA) has struggled.

Anaheim will look to put a lid on Steven Stamkos, whose 40 goals leads the NHL by a mile. "He can really skate, so he can do it from your end to the other end," Boudreau said this morning. "At the same time, he's got a beautiful release on his shot, so you can't give him any space from the blue line in." Tampa's second leading goal-scorer, Vinny Lecavalier, is out indefinitely with an "upper body injury" that emerged in yesterday's practice.

One guy who will be in the Ducks lineup for the first time in awhile is Devante Smith-Pelly, who Boudreau said will be in the lineup tonight after recovering from the foot injury suffered in late December at the World Juniors. With Pelly in there, here are the lineups the Ducks flashed at today's morning skate:

Blake-Getzlaf-Perry
Ryan-Koivu-Selanne
Beleskey-Bonino-Cogliano
Hagman-Pelley-Smith-Pelly

Beauchemin-Fowler
Sbisa-Visnovsky
Lydman-Brookbank

It's stop 7 of 8 on this marathon road trip, which the Ducks need to finish off strong (they're 4-0-2 so far) to keep hope alive. "So far, it's gone as good as anybody could have expected," Boudreau said. "But you'd like to be able to say that at the end of the trip."


- - -

Great news for Ducks season ticket holders who are looking to renew next season: We've just announced that season tickets for next year will either be decreased or remain the same as they were this season. The average season ticket price will decrease 4.8%, while reductions could be as high as 35% per ticket. Among Ducks season ticket holders, 40% will see a reduction in price, with 60% remaining flat to this season.

Click here for more on that.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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