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GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (31-21-12) at Chicago Blackhawks (21-35-9).
TIME: Friday, 8:30 p.m. EST.
Trying to qualify for the playoffs for only the fourth time in their history, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Sitting ninth in the Western Conference, the Mighty Ducks missed a chance to pull into a three-way tie with Edmonton and Vancouver for the eighth and final playoff spot Wednesday night when they lost 3-1 at Detroit.
Anaheim allowed two goals in the first 10:45 as its three-game winning streak was snapped. The Ducks are trying to make postseason for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003, when they extended the New Jersey Devils to seven games before losing.
"We didn't want to get down two goals like that early in the game," said Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer, a member of that Devils team that knocked off the Ducks to win the championship. "They came out ready to go and we just weren't jumping like we needed to be. For us to compete with them we need to be going as hard as we can."
Teemu Selanne had the only goal for Anaheim on Wednesday and has a six-game point streak, recording three goals and five assists during that stretch. He earned a point in 14 consecutive games from Dec. 31-Feb. 4 for his longest such streak this season.
Selanne leads the Mighty Ducks in points and is on the way to his most productive season since recording 33 goals and 85 points in 1999-00 during his first stint with Anaheim.
The Ducks will be looking to get back on track against a Blackhawks club that they have lost to only once in the last 11 meetings. Anaheim is 9-1 with one tie against Chicago in that span, and will be going for a sweep of the season series.
The Blackhawks are looking to win back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season, and first since Dec. 7-11. A three-game winning streak from Nov. 13-19 was Chicago's longest of the season.
The Blackhawks hope Nikolai Khabibulin can build on his 33-save performance in their 3-2 win over Columbus on Wednesday. Khabibulin, who also stopped a penalty shot against the Blue Jackets, has mostly struggled in his first season in Chicago and is 2-6-2 with a 4.07 goals-against average in his last 10 starts.
The Blackhawks have scored the second-fewest goals in the NHL with 168, two more than Columbus.
STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 74 points, 3rd place, 17 PB, Pacific Division. Blackhawks - 51 points, 4th place (tied), 44 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 29 goals and 62 points; Niedermayer, 42 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 142 PIM. Blackhawks - Mark Bell, 21 goals; Kyle Calder, 28 assists and 43 points; Matthew Barnaby, 159 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Mighty Ducks - Power play: 16.7 percent (64 for 384), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (343 for 408), 8th. Blackhawks - Power play: 12.5 percent (42 for 335), 30th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (384 for 458), 10th.
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (19-10-11, 2 SO, 2.63 GAA); Ilya Bryzgalov (12-11-1, 1, 2.51). Blackhawks - Khabibulin (13-20-3, 3.42); Craig Anderson (5-10-3, 1, 3.38).
SEASON SERIES: Mighty Ducks, 3-0.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 11-12-7 on the road; Blackhawks - 12-16-4 at home.
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