Morning Report: Etem Returns for Pivotal Matchup Against Hawks

Wednesday, 02.5.2014 / 12:30 PM PT / News
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Morning Report: Etem Returns for Pivotal Matchup Against Hawks
It doesn\u2019t get much better than a Ducks-Blackhawks matchup, and fans should be in for a treat tonight as the two top teams in the NHL square off inside Honda Center.
PHOTOS FROM THE MORNING SKATE
By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com

It doesn’t get much better than a Ducks-Blackhawks matchup, and fans should be in for a treat tonight as the two top teams in the NHL square off inside Honda Center.

For the Ducks, it’s a chance to end their five-game homestand on a high note after going just 1-3-0 in the first four. A win would also give them a five-point cushion on the second-place Blackhawks, who play their final game before the Olympic break on Friday in Phoenix.

The two clubs have a combined record of 74-23-19 (.720 win/points percentage), the best record among competing clubs at this stage of the season in nearly five years. The last NHL game played between two NHL clubs with a combined points/win percentage over .720 after 58 games or more) was on Feb. 25, 2009, when Detroit hosted San Jose (80-21-17, .750 combined win/points percentage). (Stat courtesy of Stats INC.)

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy says it’s time for the Ducks to look themselves in the mirror and decide what kind of team they want to be from here on out.

“This is a big two games for us, a big stretch,” he said. “We need to turn this around. We can decide whether we want to be an average team the rest of the year, or a great team.

“Our guys are focused. This is the perfect time to play this team. You know you’re going to get your best effort out of everybody in this room.”

ETEM UP, STECKEL DOWN
The Ducks will have a familiar face in the lineup tonight, as earlier today the Ducks recalled Long Beach native Emerson Etem from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. In addition, the Ducks reassigned David Steckel to Norfolk.

“Quite frankly, the one thing about last game is that it looked like there was a lack of energy and emotion, whether in the building or on the bench,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Emerson is a guy who can bring both of those things. He’s been playing well [in Norfolk] and we thought it was a good time, with the ability of [Daniel] Winnik to play center, that we could do that.”

Etem spoke with reporters following the skate and said he’s excited to be back in Anaheim.

“It’s a great feeling when you get that call,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to help this team win. I’ll be finishing my checks and creating energy for the guys. It’s what I’m here to do, and I’m excited for the opportunity.

“I know the crowd is going to be into it. It’s going to be an intense game. It’s a growing rivalry and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The 21-year-old said he worked on the little things during his time in Norfolk.

“The defensive game is always important,” he said. “Make sure you’re finishing your checks and always being on the [defensive] side of the puck. It was the little things that I was working on, and it seemed to work out.”

BONINO, FISTRIC ON THE ICE
Center Nick Bonino and defenseman Mark Fistric took part in the morning skate, albeit wearing blue non-contact jerseys. While no update was given on Fistric, Boudreau says Bonino appears to be getting better, but he’ll have to go “full bore” on Friday for a chance of playing on Saturday in Nashville.

EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Dustin Penner-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Teemu Selanne
Emerson Etem-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey-Daniel Winnik-Kyle Palmieri

Cam Fowler-Ben Lovejoy
Hampus Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Luca Sbisa-Sami Vatanen

DUCKS-BLACKHAWKS
Anaheim and Chicago conclude a three-game season series tonight at Honda Center. The Ducks have won five of the last six over the Blackhawks, including a 3-2 shootout win on Dec. 6 at Chicago. The Blackhawks won the most recent meeting between these two teams, a 4-2 decision on Jan. 17 at the United Center. Anaheim is 43-27-9 all-time vs. Chicago, including 23-10-4 at Honda Center.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 73 24 44 14 68
C. Perry 61 32 20 16 52
R. Kesler 76 19 27 -5 46
S. Vatanen 61 12 25 7 37
J. Silfverberg 75 12 23 11 35
P. Maroon 67 9 24 -4 33
C. Fowler 74 7 26 3 33
H. Lindholm 73 7 26 22 33
J. Wisniewski 64 8 24 -14 32
M. Beleskey 62 22 9 14 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 32 11 5 .913 2.41
J. Gibson 12 7 0 .914 2.65

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