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RANGERS (1-2-0) at DUCKS (2-1-0)
TV: MSG, PRIME
FANS ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE EARLY
Season series: The Ducks are hosting the New York Rangers for the first time in over two years (2-1 shootout victory on Oct. 8, 2011). Anaheim owns a 14-6-5 all-time record against the Rangers, including an 8-2-2 mark at Honda Center.
Big story: The Ducks will open their 20th anniversary season home schedule against the New York Rangers at Honda Center. After losing their season opening contest in Colorado, the Ducks reeled off back-to-back wins in Minnesota and Winnipeg on consecutive nights. Anaheim is facing a Rangers team that was blown out in its last game, a 9-2 loss in San Jose on Tuesday.
Ducks: The Ducks have rebounded nicely since being overwhelmed on opening night. Their three-game road trip to start the season continued into Minnesota on Saturday, where Mathieu Perreault scored his first goal with the team to give the Ducks a 4-3 overtime win over the Wild.
The following night in Winnipeg, the Ducks played arguably their best game to date this season, outshooting the Jets 34-17 for the game. But despite the tilted ice, Anaheim remained tied 2-2 with the Jets late in the third period when Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian partially fanned on his clearing attempt, putting the puck right onto the stick of All-Star Corey Perry, who roofed it for the game-winning goal.
It was a spirited effort by the Ducks, but the game will be best-remembered for what will likely be legendary wing Teemu Selanne's final game in Winnipeg, where he started his NHL career 21 years ago.
"Obviously this place is really special. Even last night when we got to the hotel, there were a lot of people waiting. It's unbelievable," Selanne said. "It's fun to be here."
Emerson Etem practiced with the team on Wednesday, and head coach Bruce Boudreau said there's a chance the speedy winger plays against the Rangers. Etem has yet to appear in regular season action since suffering a lower-body injury in a preseason contest at San Jose on September 20.
Rangers: The western stretch of the Rangers' season-opening nine-game road trip hasn't gone smoothly so far. They appeared to rebound from a 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes with a hard-fought 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
But things went off the rails Tuesday night in San Jose as the Sharks exploded for a 9-2 win highlighted by a four-goal performance from rookie Thomas Hertl. New York got off to a good start with Brad Richards opening the scoring 3:27 into the game. But the Sharks struck shorthanded just 56 seconds later and proceeded to run away with things. The humbling loss was made even worse by an injury to forward Rick Nash that forced him to leave the game in the opening period.
The injury came on a hit to the head courtesy of Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.
"I have a headache. It got worse. It was a head shot. I'm concerned the way it feels," Nash said following the game. "You're concerned any time there's a head shot."
Rebounding from that tough loss in San Jose could be even more difficult should the high-scoring wing not be available in Anaheim.
Who's hot: The combination of Perreault and Jakob Silfverberg on the Ducks' second line has been very productive so far. The pair has combined for three goals and five points in Anaheim's two wins. ... Since moving to the wing, Richards has been an offensive force for New York, leading the team with three goals in three games. Derek Stepan has recorded an assist in all three games this season.
Injury report: For the Ducks, defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist) and Luca Sbisa (ankle) are out, as is forward Kyle Palmieri, who is out with an upper-body injury. Palmieri is considered day-to-day. For the Rangers, Nash (head) is considered doubtful for Thursday while wing Carl Hagelin remains out following offseason shoulder surgery.
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