The Pacific Division-leading Ducks (41-23-11, 93 points) begin their final road trip of the regular season tonight against the Vancouver Canucks (30-26-9, 69 points) at Rogers Arena (7 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830), and can clinch a playoff berth in one of two ways. Anaheim can punch a ticket to the postseason with at least one standings point tonight (win or OT/shootout loss) or the Edmonton Oilers defeat the LA Kings in any fashion. (Edmonton hosts LA at 6 p.m. PT tonight).
The Ducks are tied for the longest active winning streak in the NHL (4-0-0), own a seven-game point streak (7-0-1) and are 9-2-1 dating to the end of their bye week on March 3.
Anaheim has recorded its fourth consecutive 40+ win season, tying a franchise record originally established from 2005-06 to 2008-09. The Ducks are one of four NHL teams with 40-or-more wins in each of the last four seasons, including the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Following tonight's game, the Ducks continue their four-game trek with stops in Winnipeg on Thursday (5 p.m. PT), Edmonton on Saturday (7 p.m. PT) and Calgary on Sunday (6:30 p.m. PT).
Tonight's matchup concludes the five-game season series between the Ducks and Canucks. Anaheim has earned points in three of the first four games of the series (five of eight points, 2-1-1 record), including a 4-2 win on October 23 at Honda Center and a 3-1 victory on December 1 at Rogers Arena. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf leads Anaheim skaters with six points (1g/5a) in the first four games of the season set, with points in all four. Getzlaf also paces active Ducks skaters in career scoring vs. Vancouver with 44 points (12g/32a) in 46 games. The Ducks are 44-38-19 vs. the Canucks all-time and 13-3-4 in the last 20 contests. In Vancouver, the Ducks have posted a 24-21-6 all-time record vs. the Canucks.
Speaking of Getzlaf, he was named NHL's Third Star of the Week for the week ending March 26 after co-leading the league with seven assists in three games. Getzlaf recorded three points on March 22 vs. Edmonton along with a four-point performance on Sunday against the Rangers. Getzlaf's four-assist night in Anaheim's 6-3 victory over the Rangers represented a season high and pushed him to the 50-assist mark for the second consecutive season, one of three players to do so (also Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Washington's Nicklas Backstrom).
While the Ducks are red hot, going 8-1-1 over their last 10 games, the Canucks have won just twice over their last 10 (2-6-2), which most recently included a 2-1 loss at Winnipeg on Sunday. Vancouver will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season and third time over the last four, but the future appears bright for the franchise that came within a victory of capturing the 2011 Stanley Cup (they lost in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins). After playing his final game with the University of North Dakota on Friday (a double OT loss to Boston University in Fargo, N.D.), Boeser flew to Minneapolis early Saturday morning, signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Canucks when he landed and promptly made his NHL debut a few hours later against the Wild in his home state of Minnesota. Boeser became the 18th player in franchise history to make a Canucks regular-season debut and score a goal in the same game. His goal ended up being the game winner.