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At the Rink blog

Ducks' Lydman questionable, Smith-Pelley on top line

Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 4:35 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Ducks' Lydman questionable, Smith-Pelley on top line
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman will be a game-time decision because of an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the past two games, said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau.

Lydman fought through the end of last season with a shoulder injury that needed surgery. He said, "I wasn't feeling that great" from the surgery at the beginning of the season, and now it appears he will have to work through an injury again to finish this season.

"Everything kind of piles up during the year," Lydman said. "I want it to be a little better. It's nothing new."

If Lydman can't play, Nate Guenin likely will take his spot.

Boudreau said there was a "good chance" that veterans Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman will return to the lineup. He scratched both Monday, citing their fatigue in back-to-back games this season.

At the morning skate Blake, 38, played on a line with Saku Koivu, 37, and 41-year-old Teemu Selanne, in perhaps the oldest line in the NHL.

Another Ducks line will feature rookie Devante Smith-Pelly playing on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry

It's a vote of confidence from Boudreau to give Smith-Pelly, 19, a look there after he has played mostly on the third line since being returning from an injury suffered at the 2012 World Junior Championship in December. It's also an adjustment playing the left side given that Smith-Pelly played right wing his whole junior career.

"I felt Bruce has been pretty confident in me since I came over," Smith-Pelly said. "My role is slowly increasing and I'm happy about it. I think I've been playing pretty well since I came back from injury. I'm just happy the coaching staff has confidence in me."

Here's the rest of the lineup the Ducks likely will use Wednesday:

Devante Smith-Pelly - Ryan-Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Jason Blake - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Bobby Ryan - Nick Bonino - Kyle Palmieri
Matt Beleskey - Andrew Cogliano - Niklas Hagman

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Lubomir Visnovsky - Nate Guenin
Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller will be in goal, with Jeff Deslauriers the backup.
Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets