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Ducks Prepare for High Flying Maple Leafs

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

The Ducks gathered at Honda Center on Sunday for practice in preparation for tomorrow’s homestand finale against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Returning to the ice today was center Mathieu Perreault, who has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. Perreault and Rickard Rakell took turns centering a line with Patrick Maroon and Teemu Selanne.

“He’s progressing a lot quicker than we thought he would,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau of Perreault. “I think sometime this week he’ll be playing.”

Not on the ice was defenseman Luca Sbisa, who left Friday’s game against the Penguins with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. Boudreau says Sbisa’s “close” to returning, but a timeframe for his comeback remains to be seen.

“Thank goodness Luca isn’t as hurt as we thought he was,” Boudreau said, adding that he expects Sbisa to join the team on the three-game road trip beginning Wednesday in Calgary.

If defenseman Stephane Robidas’ recovery schedule goes according to plan, Ducks fans can expect to see him in the lineup sometime next week. But Boudreau says he doesn’t want to rush the 37-year-old back into the lineup, especially with back-to-backs against the Avalanche and LA Kings on Friday and Saturday. Boudreau says playing him on Tuesday, March 18 against the Washington Capitals is more likely.

“We talked about it this morning,” he said. “It might not be fair to him to throw him in the back-to-backs with the rest of the team.”

Who he’ll eventually be paired up has been on Boudreau’s mind for some time.

“I’ve done a lot of thinking about that,” he said. “Wherever it is, we’re getting a good right-handed guy in the lineup who has years of experience. He’ll play really well for us.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs come to Honda Center on a two-game winning streak and is 6-2-2 over their past 10 games. Currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs embark on a three-game California trip that also includes games on Tuesday at San Jose and Thursday at LA.

Tomorrow will also mark the return of Randy Carlyle, the former Ducks coach who led them to a Stanley Cup in 2007, and whom Boudreau replaced in November 2011.

Boudreau says he expects the Maple Leafs to come out flying tomorrow night.

“Toronto is a great team,” he said. “They have the highest scoring line in the league, and they can skate. And, it’s Randy’s first trip back. They’re going to be all pumped up. It should be an exciting game, and it should be a really tough game.”

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