By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks were back on the ice this morning in preparation for tonight’s matchup against the visiting Minnesota Wild. Anaheim is riding a seven-game winning streak on home ice and has victories in seven of eight games overall (7-1-0).
Saku Koivu was not on the ice, but is expected to play tonight on Anaheim’s third line with Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik. Also, Ben Lovejoy is expected to make his return to the lineup after being scratched in Wednesday’s game. Sheldon Souray was the seventh defensemen in drills today. Jonas Hiller was the first goaltender to step off the ice this morning, an indication he’ll be tonight’s starter.
REST IS KEY
Francois Beauchemin has been a workhouse for the Ducks this season and his average time-on-ice per game (23:45) leads the team. But with a busy month of March on top of a condensed schedule, the 32-year-old defenseman says getting rest whenever possible is important.
“There’s still a lot of work to do. We’re going to play a lot of games in not many days in the next few weeks, and it’s going to be important to get our rest when we have to. We have to be ready for those back-to-back games, especially tonight and tomorrow.”
Coach Boudreau, when asked if Souray will be scratched: “You might see it. I’ve got to talk to him. Somewhere during this month there’s going to be days off for him and other guys, too. You look at him and how his season went last year and you look at him that he is an older player, how many minutes he plays. All of these things you want to take into account. There are a lot of reasons why you want to keep a guy like him fresh because he’s great for us.”
Two Southern California-born players who played youth hockey together are now about to face each other on the big stage. Long Beach native Emerson Etem says he and Jason Zucker (Newport Beach) go way back.
“We played one year [on the U.S. National Development team] and [played together] even in youth hockey, Peewee and Triple A. We went to nationals and stuff like that. We’re very familiar with each other.
“We were in different conferences in the AHL. I haven’t played against him so tonight should be a first. It should be good.”
ON THE WILD
Boudreau: “They’re four lines deep if you look at their four lines. They’re playing well right now and [Ryan] Suter is on the ice for half of the game, one of the best defensemen in the league facing you all the time. And they can skate. When you add all those elements and throw the addition that they want to win. They’re playing hard. It makes for a good team.
“Also, they’re very good defensively because they haven’t scored a lot of goals, so every game is a real tight game. There are a lot of elements on why they’re good and why they’re going to be a good team.”
MORNING SKATE LINE COMBINATIONS
Perry – Getzlaf – Palmieri
Beleskey – Ryan – Selanne
Cogliano – Staubitz – Winnik
Maroon – Bonino – Etem
Lydman – Beauchemin
Sbisa – Fowler
Allen – Lovejoy
NOTE: Koivu was not on the ice but is expected to be in tonight’s lineup.
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