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Weekend Plans

The Ducks go into these two games on the weekend looking to secure home ice and gain momentum for the playoffs

Friday, 04.04.2008 / 7:12 PM / Features
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Weekend Plans

By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com

Although their first round playoff opponent became almost 100 percent certain on Thursday night, the Ducks’ solitary focus remains on the final remnants of the regular season docket this weekend.

Pronger, who returns from suspension Sunday, says, “You want to go in playing well. You want to use those two games to get everything shored up, get yourself motivated and ready to roll. Come playoffs, you want to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders.”

Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Pacific Division rivals Anaheim and Dallas will meet in the opening round beginning next week. While it will be a matchup of the four and five seeds in the Western Conference, the higher seed remains up for grabs. Three points ahead of the Stars, the Ducks can control their own destiny.

Any combination of two points gained by the Ducks in their last two games (at Los Angeles on Saturday and at home against Phoenix on Sunday) or lost by the Stars in their remaining two games (at home against the Coyotes tonight and San Jose on Sunday) gives Anaheim home ice, and thus Games 1 and 2 at Honda Center.

“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we have two games to play here,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Our focus can’t be Dallas. Our focus has to be the L.A. Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. We have two games that are very important to our team and organization.”

In what would be a pretty evenly matched series with the Stars, the Ducks ability to nab home ice advantage could be the tipping point, as they own a franchise-record 27-9-4 home mark.

“Home ice is very important, especially with the way we played here at Honda Center this year,” Ducks captain Chris Pronger said.

Going into the postseason with momentum is another reason the Ducks hope to dispatch the Kings and Coyotes on consecutive days. “You want to go in playing well,” Pronger said. “You want to use those two games to get everything shored up, get yourself motivated and ready to roll. Come playoffs, you want to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders.”

While there is a dilemma to rest players at the end of the season for playoff teams in all sports, the Ducks are steadfast in their desire to play hard in closing out the schedule.

“I will give nothing into that attitude,” said Carlyle of the rest quandary.  “I won’t visit that at all.”

“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we have two games to play here. "Our focus can’t be Dallas. Our focus has to be the L.A. Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. We have two games that are very important to our team and organization.” - Randy Carlyle

Added Scott Niedermayer: “I don’t think it’s ever good to head into a game and not be prepared or try not to go out and play your best. I think we just have to have that mindset going into this weekend to prepare as best we can and perform at the high level that we want to. That’s the only way to play any game.”

Helping the team’s cause on Sunday will be Pronger’s return to action after an eight-game suspension, and the Ducks captain is itching to get back into action.

“It’s obviously been a long layoff, especially with our schedule and four to five days between games,” Pronger said. “It doesn’t make it any easier having it drag on. It will be good to get a game in before the playoffs just to get a feel for things again.”

Cleared from the injured reserved prior to Friday’s practice at Anaheim Ice, Ryan Carter is looking more and more like a possibility for one or both of the games this weekend.

“I’ve been taken off the IR, so there’s a chance,” said Carter, who has been out with a broken wrist since Feb. 20. “It’s feeling better today. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. It would be nice to get in a game before the playoffs starts.”

Even another positive for the Ducks lineup is the progress of top goal-scorer Corey Perry, who skated prior to practice in his rehabilitation from a partially severed right quadriceps tendon suffered on March 6.

“That’s always a positive sign when you got a guy that’s been able to skate,” Carlyle said. “It’s the second or third time Corey has skated on his own. The optimum case for him is middle of the first round. I think a lot of things have to go right for that to happen.”

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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