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Preview: Ducks Aim for Fourth Straight Win Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (21-12-8, 50 pts.), who rank tied for first in the Pacific Division, begin the second half of the schedule with Game 42 as the club takes on the Minnesota Wild (24-9-5, 53 pts.) tonight at Honda Center (5 p.m. PT, NBCSN/AM 830). Through 41 games, the Ducks are four wins and nine points ahead of last year's pace (17-17-7, 41 pts. in 2015-16). Other comparables include goals for (110 this season to 76 last season), goals against (110 to 97), PP% (22.7 to 19.3), PK% (81.5 to 89.7) and FO% (55.6 to 51.6).

The Ducks have earned standings points in a season-high seven consecutive games (11 of a possible 14 points, 4-0-3), their longest such streak since a 14-game streak from Feb. 9-March 7, 2016 (12-0-2). Anaheim is also riding a season-high eight-game home point streak (7-0-1), its best since a 10-game home streak from Jan. 20-March 14, 2016 (9-0-1, 19 pts.). This five-game homestand, which has opened with three consecutive wins against Philadelphia, Detroit and Arizona, represents Anaheim's longest stretch at home since December 5-11 when the Ducks enjoyed a three-game homestand at Honda Center. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will conclude the homestand against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (7 p.m. PT).

Tonight's contest marks the opener of a three-game season series between the Ducks and Wild. Anaheim is 29-18-9 against Minnesota with a 3-1 victory in its last meeting on Jan. 20, 2016 at Honda Center. On home ice, the Ducks have posted an 18-8-2 record vs. the Wild. In addition, the Ducks are 8-2-0 in the past 10 games against the Wild and have won three in a row at home dating to Oct. 27, 2014. Ryan Kesler's 35 points (24g/11a) in 56 games lead all active Ducks in career scoring vs. Minnesota. These two clubs will complete the season set with a pair of games at Xcel Energy Center, including Saturday, January 21 (6 p.m. PT) and Tuesday, February 14 (5 p.m. PT).

Anaheim is coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night at Honda Center - its first victory in the five-minute frame all season. The new year has been kind to the Ducks, who have won three straight in 2017 on this current three-game homestand. Ondrej Kase scored the game winner in OT, his first career overtime goal and second career game-winning goal. The 21-year-old enters tonight's game with points in consecutive games (3, 2g/1a) for the first time this season, along with five points (3g/2a) in his past nine games. John Gibson turned aside 21-of-23 shots for his third consecutive victory and 15th win of the season.

As for the Wild, tonight's game concludes a back-to-back set that began with a 4-3 overtime defeat at Staples Center against the LA Kings. Minnesota jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle within a five-minute span in the first period, but the Kings responded with three of their own before Zach Parise tied it for the Wild with 43 seconds remaining in regulation. Tanner Pearson sealed the extra point for the Kings in overtime giving the Wild just its second loss of any kind in the past 10 games (8-1-1).

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