Game Preview

Ducks-Canucks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends

Ducks-Canucks Preview
Anaheim Ducks vs. Vancouver Canucks

In the middle of a tight playoff race for the final spots in the Western Conference, the Ducks face another critical matchup at Vancouver on Thursday night.

The Canucks have picked up an NHL-best 41 points since the beginning of February, making them a team no one wants to face in the postseason.

Based on their play over the past two weeks, no one figures to be anxious to face the Ducks, either.

Once in 12th place in the West on March 18, the Ducks (39-32-6) have surged into a tie for the seventh spot in the West with seven wins in their last eight contests

The only loss in that stretch came against Edmonton last Friday, but the Ducks got revenge on Tuesday, scoring three power-play goals in a 5-3 road win over the Oilers.

"We were not in the playoff picture for a while," said Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who had a goal and two assists. "We're just putting everything else aside, forgetting about the standings and things like that. Forget about who's doing what and just plugging away, and that's what we have to keep doing."

Niedermayer has been one of the catalysts to a surge that's been built largely on success with the man advantage. The Ducks are a stunning 14-for-36 (38.9 percent) on the power play in their last eight games, and Niedermayer and fellow defenseman Chris Pronger have combined for 13 points.

Anaheim can't afford to let up, though, as five teams separated by just three points are fighting for the final two playoff slots in the West.

"We're just giving ourselves a chance to live another day and that's all you can do," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

Earning two key points in Vancouver won't be easy for the Ducks as the Canucks return to GM Place looking for their 12th straight home win. Vancouver hasn't lost at home since Jan. 31, outscoring their opponents 42-19 during their franchise-record 11-game home winning streak.

The Canucks (42-25-9) were 12 points behind Calgary in the Northwest Division at the end of January, but have been the league's hottest team since. The Canucks are 20-5-1 (one of those losses came to the Ducks in overtime on March 11 at Honda Center) since Feb. 1, and lead the second-place Flames by one point with six games remaining.

"Back in January not many people thought we'd be in the spot we are, but we've worked hard for where we are," said Roberto Luongo, who went 4-2-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average on Vancouver's six-game road trip. "We need to make sure here in the last few games that we keep pushing and try to get that third seed."

Thursday's contest also will be Vancouver's first at home since March 19. After dropping two of three to start their swing, Vancouver won its next three, and with a 2-1 overtime victory in Minnesota on Tuesday jumped past idle Calgary into the division lead.

Henrik Sedin scored in overtime, and he's tallied seven goals and nine assists in his past 11 games. Over that stretch, the line of Alex Burrows, Henrik and twin brother Daniel Sedin have combined for 19 goals and 41 points.

"They've done it in pressure moments, and that's good for us with the playoffs around the corner," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.

Anaheim's top line, meanwhile, has done pretty well for itself lately. Ryan Getzlaf, rookie Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry have combined for 27 points in the Ducks' last eight games.

Perry has a goal and six assists against Vancouver this season, though the Canucks have won two of the three meetings. Five of Perry's points came in a 7-6 shootout loss on Oct. 31.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 02 '09 ANA 6 at VAN 5 - SO C. Perry
Mar 11 '09 VAN 3 at ANA 4 - OT S. Niedermayer
Dec 22 '08 ANA 3 at VAN 4 D. Sedin
Oct 31 '08 VAN 7 at ANA 6 - SO M. Ohlund
R. Getzlaf77256085+410592
C. Perry74293867+1010388
B. Ryan60282654+1433103
S. Niedermayer78134154-136892
T. Selanne61252449-526165
C. Pronger78113647-18242
C. Kunitz62161935+95532
A. Ebbett4472330+8860
E. Christensen6061925-91810
B. Morrison62101222+01612
R. Whitney4422022-132210
J. Wisniewski4431821+62810
R. Niedermayer7514620-183412
S. Montador6541620+1412500
T. Marchant6841216-43400
S. Pahlsson5251015-163211
T. Moen634711-177701
G. Parros705510+813500
D. Miller234610+01500
R. Carter48369+35201
P. Nokelainen46347+01600
B. Sutherby17336+61900
K. Huskins33246+62700
B. Hedican51156-73600
F. Beauchemin18415-41202
B. Festerling40055+51800
B. May20055+52800
S. Brookbank40134+67600
M. Brown44123-714301
B. Mikkelson32022+11500
N. McIver18011+23600
B. Salcido2011+2000
T. Bodie4000+0000
K. Klee3000+0400
M. Beleskey2000+0000
J. Hiller4221-14-18710922.31.920
J. Giguere4519-18-512712653.13.900
D. Sedin77314980+253697
H. Sedin77205979+234247
R. Kesler77253156+85291
P. Demitra64193251+72041
A. Burrows77272249+2313403
K. Bieksa68113243+09752
A. Edler75102434+105251
S. Bernier76151732+42724
K. Wellwood6917926+4493
M. Sundin3691625-72652
S. Salo5551924+62652
M. Raymond67101222+32440
M. Ohlund7741822+129920
W. Mitchell7731922+305701
J. Hansen5461521+73701
T. Pyatt6910919+04301
O. Vaananen4811011+82200
S. O'Brien7201010+618500
R. Johnson57268+11001
D. Hordichuk69415+110900
J. Jaffray14224-21402
R. Rypien7202-21200
R. Davison23022-45100
J. Krog4101+0210
M. Brown20011-58500
L. Nycholat14011+3600
A. Bolduc7011+1400
M. Ouellet3000+1000
R. Luongo4930-11-711514032.40.918
J. LaBarbera288-10-6676752.78.901
C. Sanford197-8-0424482.59.906
C. Schneider82-4-1201623.38.877 is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.