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Stanley Cup Final

Daily Primer Feb. 5: Presidents' Trophy chase heats up

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider


The pursuit of home-ice advantage throughout the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be in high gear Wednesday night.

The Anaheim Ducks, who have a three point lead atop the NHL standings, will host the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, WGN, FS-W). Despite their recent struggles, the Ducks are 22-4-2 on home ice this season. The teams split two games in Chicago earlier this season; the next time they see each other could be in the Western Conference Final.

Here's a closer look at the action Wednesday:

Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres-- In the latest edition of "Wednesday Night Rivalry," the Penguins head to Buffalo with hopes of building off a 2-1 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday. Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury got the victory, giving him 30 wins in a season faster than any goalie in franchise history. Buffalo continues its season-long struggle, having won four of its past 16 games. The Sabres lost their first two games against the Penguins this season by a combined score of 7-1.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks -- Two Western Conference powerhouses clash at Honda Center, where the Ducks have dropped three of four on their five-game homestand after starting the season 20-0-2 on home ice. Chicago, which is 13-0-6 against the Pacific Division this season, trails Anaheim by three points for the overall lead in the NHL standings. The Blackhawks are 2-0-2 on a trip that spans the Olympic break; they won't play a home game this month.

Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks -- Dallas aims to go 3-for-3 on its three-game road trip after earning a 3-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, three nights after it blanked the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Stars center Tyler Seguin had an assist in Phoenix to extend his point streak to six games (three goals, seven assists). San Jose will be looking to bounce back from a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at SAP Center on Monday. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four goals on 23 shots.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round