ANAHEIM, Calif.-- They have played on Finland’s national team but Niklas Hagman, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne have never been on the same line.
Well, technically, it might have happened for a brief moment.
“It must have been a line change or something,” Hagman said.
That will change when the Anaheim Ducks play host to the New York Islanders on Friday night. Coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that he’ll start with the Finnish line, with an emphasis on “start.”
“The (whole) game? I don’t know,” Boudreau said. “The first period? Yeah. You just have to see how the first period goes, and hopefully it will go well.”
Boudreau has been a mad scientist with his lines while trying to coax some offense out of the Ducks, and this is the latest wrinkle. It also has to do with Jason Blake returning to the lineup recently because Boudreau mentioned he asked too much of Blake in his first game back Wednesday.
Hagman, who has played with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the first line and also on the third line, was looking forward to the possibilities with his countrymen.
“Obviously its two great players,” Hagman said. “Who wouldn’t be excited? We have a lot of great players on our team so it doesn’t matter who they play with. But I’m from Finland and they’re from Finland, so it makes it a little different.”
Hiller likely in: Jonas Hiller did not participate in what was a very optional morning skate for Anaheim.
Boudreau said “I suppose - maybe” when asked if Hiller would be in net and joked that there’s a “59.3 percent” chance Hiller would make his 18th start in the past 20 games.
Evgeni Nabokov will start for the Islanders. He has historically fared well against the Ducks with a 9-3 record, 1.76 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 12 matchups against Anaheim when he was in San Jose.
Gordon stays up: Andrew Gordon and Matt Smaby cleared waivers Friday morning and Boudreau said Gordon will be in the lineup.
Gordon wasn’t necessarily surprised by the move given their struggles and the fact that the Ducks have one extra forward on their active roster. Gordon has two goals and five points with a minus-10 rating in 36 games.
“The way I tend to approach it is do what I’m told,” Gordon said. “You’re a soldier in this game. You do what you’re told. You come to work when you’re told to come to work.
“No one’s happy about going on waivers. No one’s happy about the prospect of being shipped out of here. We all want to be here. We all want to win.”
Islanders trending upward: Islanders coach Jack Capuano said there won’t be any changes in his lineup, and there’s no argument for it with the Islanders going for their first four-game winning streak since Feb.10-15, 2011.
“(Four wins in a row) would be a big confidence (boost),” Michael Grabner said. “We’re just working our way up to .500. Every game counts for us.”
Capuano liked the resiliency his team showed in their last game against Carolina.
“Even when they scored late, we knew we still had a chance and that’s what we like about our team right now,” he said. “Whatever adversity that we face, we have to bounce back. And you’re going to face adversity during the course of a game, especially against these guys tonight. They got a line that’s going to play 18-20 minutes tonight. It could be one of the best lines in hockey. We’re going to have our troubles with them.”
Disneyland excursion: Grabner and about half a dozen teammates went to Disneyland on Thursday. It was Grabner’s first visit there and he said it was too short.
“The lines were long,” he said. “We were only on Space Mountain, Indiana Jones (Adventure) and Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner – Josh Bailey - Matt Martin
Tim Wallace - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter
Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Andrew Gordon
Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank