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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 3:52 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks put Ryan back with Perry, Getzlaf

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks did not do line rushes at their morning skate Wednesday, but coach Bruce Boudreau on Tuesday had Bobby Ryan back on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Boudreau has used Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnik and Emerson Etem in that top-line left-wing spot in what has been a myriad of combinations on almost all four lines.

"We've got to kind of be prepared for everything and he made us well aware of that going into the season," Getzlaf said. "Bruce is a communicator. He lets us know on everything that's going on and he doesn't like to keep things one general way."

Ryan obviously is more than familiar with Getzlaf and Perry considering they formed one of the most potent lines in the League the past few seasons.

"By now we've played with everybody," Getzlaf said. "Generally we play a puck-possession game, so everybody who steps on our line knows that. They've got to come in and work, and we've got to try and work with them."

Here is how the Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes could match up when they meet Wednesday:

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 3:46 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Vrbata could be back for Ducks-Coyotes III

ANAHEIM -- Will the Phoenix Coyotes bring back one of their best offensive pieces to add a twist to the third installment of their trilogy with the Anaheim Ducks?

Coach Dave Tippett said Wednesday that forward Radim Vrbata is close to returning from an upper-body injury that has kept him out since Feb. 16.

"We'll see how things go there," Tippett said. "Vrbata is close. Whether he plays or not, I'm not sure."

What is certain is that the first two games of the unusual three-game series have been Twilight Zone-like similar. Phoenix won both games 5-4 in a shootout, and the eight goals in regulation were scored in the exact same sequence as Anaheim blew leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 3:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues insert Cole back in lineup, look at Arnott

LOS ANGELES -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock knows full well what's in store when he plays the Los Angeles Kings: a lot of big bodies flying around.

That's largely why Hitchcock will insert Ian Cole back on defense when St. Louis plays L.A. on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Cole will be needed against some of the Kings' big forwards such as Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown.

"The opponent dictates that," Hitchcock said. "They've got a big lineup and Ian's played OK against them. ... I think just from getting bounced around standpoint, when you play L.A. you're going to get bounced around. You've just got to fight through it.

"They're a big team, but they're a big, smart team. I mean, there's a difference. There's lots of big teams in the League, but they're a big, smart team, which I think makes a big difference."

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Posted On Friday, 03.01.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks' Souray likely to rest, while Sbisa returns

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could give defenseman Sheldon Souray a day off when the Ducks host the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Boudreau earlier this season suggested he would give veteran blueliners Souray and Toni Lydman days off during back-to-back sequences; Anaheim plays at the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

Souray did not take all of his turns with usual partner Francois Beauchemin at the morning skate, and Ben Lovejoy came off with the regulars. Asked if this might be an occasion to rest 36-year-old Souray, Boudreau said, "It might. I've got to talk to him. But somewhere during this month there's going to be days off for him."

Boudreau said he looks at Souray differently due to Souray's history of injuries.

"You look at him, how his season went last year, you look at him that he is an older player, how many minutes he plays -- all of these things you want to take into account," Boudreau said.

"There's a lot of reasons why you want to keep a guy like him fresh because he's done great for us.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 2:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kings get chance to exact revenge vs. Red Wings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If a loss can be used as a starting point for a team, the Los Angeles Kings can point directly to their Feb. 10 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Although they gave up the game-winning goal with five seconds remaining, the Kings played their best game to that point and have since won six of seven, allowing seven total goals in that span. They come full circle Wednesday night when Detroit comes to Staples Center.

What changed in that Feb. 10 game? Jarret Stoll said the Kings got back to better puck movement.

“Whether it’s a 5-, 6-, 8-foot pass to score, moving the puck up the ice is really key instead of having the sloppy pass or the sloppy bobbled puck, and then you’re in one in your own zone,” Stoll said. “A team like Detroit – they can sense that, they can feel that. They’re smart at that. We’ve got to make sure we’re sharp moving the puck, supporting each other.”

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Posted On Monday, 02.25.2013 / 3:42 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kings look to deny Fasth a record-tying win

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The puns have already been run into the ground: Quick vs. Fasth. But it’s an intriguing matchup regardless of playful headlines.

Jonathan Quick is expected to square off against counterpart Viktor Fasth when the Los Angeles Kings host the rival Anaheim Ducks on Monday night at Staples Center.

It will be the Kings' first look at Fasth, who at 8-0-0 is trying to match Ray Emery in 2005 for the longest winning streak to start an NHL career. The Ducks beat the Kings, 7-4, in a wild affair Feb. 2, and Jonas Hiller was in net for Anaheim.

For the Kings, there is some unknown element to Fasth outside of game film.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 12:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avlanche, Ducks

Here is the projected lineups for a game Sunday between the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodJohn MitchellMilan Hejduk

Aaron PalushajMark OlverChuck Kobasew

Jan HejdaTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonStefan Elliott

Matt Hunwick – Ryan O’Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Giguere is expected to start in the second game of a back-to-back sequence. He is 2-1 against the Ducks since he was traded from Anaheim to Toronto on Jan.31, 2010.

Colorado got captain Landeskog back from a head injury Saturday night but lost, 4-1, to the Los Angeles Kings. It is looking for a better game from its top players as McGinn, Duchene and Parenteau were a combined minus-9.

Stastny has only one goal in his past eight games.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avalance, Kings

Here are the projected lineups for a game between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodDavid MitchellMilan Hejduk

Aaron Palushaj – Mark Olver - Chuck Kobasew

Jan HejdaTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonStefan Elliott

Matt Hunwick – Ryan O’Byrne

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratches: Patrick Bordeleau, Shane O’Brien, Michael Sgarbossa

Injured: Steve Downie (knee), Erik Johnson (head), Ryan Wilson (ankle)

Landeskog is expected to return after he missed 11 games with head and leg injuries, the former from a Jan.26 hit by Brad Stuart of the San Jose Sharks.

Hejduk should also return after he had a torso injury Wednesday.

KINGS

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Trevor LewisMike RichardsJeff Carter

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Dwight KingJarret StollDustin Penner

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Keaton EllerbyDavis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratches: Simon Gagne, Brad Richardson, Andrew Campbell

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Alec Martinez (upper body), Willie Mitchell (knee)

Martinez has been skating but has not taken contact yet.

Coach Darryl Sutter earlier this week reunited the Brown-Kopitar-Williams line for the first time since last season. Brown responded with a goal Wednesday against the Calgary Flames to end a seven-game goal-less spell.

Sutter also promoted Lewis to the second line recently as Lewis has a goal and two assists in his past two games.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 4:14 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hiller, not Fasth, likely starting for Ducks vs. Jackets

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks have as good a reason as any to put Viktor Fasth back in goal Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The traditional strategy is not to mess with a streak and go with the hot goalie. Fasth is 8-0-0 and one win away from tying Ray Emery for longest winning streak to begin an NHL career.

But Fasth has played twice in the previous three nights and it appears that Jonas Hiller will return to the lineup now that he’s healthy. Hiller was first off the ice at the morning skate and said he’s back from a lower-body muscle strain that forced him out of his last start Feb. 8.

“I’ve been skating full practices for the last few days and I’ve felt good and never gotten worse,” Hiller said. "I definitely feel comfortable where I’m at.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t tip his hand. Hiller served as Fasth’s backup last Saturday even though the club also has Jeff Deslauriers available.

“He’s ready to play – when we decide to play him,” Boudreau said of Hiller.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bernier likely to start again in Kings' net

Jonathan Bernier reportedly was the first goalie off the ice at the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate Friday, meaning it's likely Bernier will start against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It would be his first back-to-back starts under coach Darryl Sutter, who talked about the need for better goaltending Thursday.

Jonathan Quick is 1-3-1 in his past five starts and let in some soft goals in his prior start Sunday, including the game-winner in the final seconds against the Detroit Red Wings.

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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp