Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf joined the team for its optional pregame skate at Honda Center earlier this morning, but remains a game-time decision against the Dallas Stars. Getzlaf has skated the past three days and today was the first time he pushed his body beyond the threshold.
"It's coming along," he said. "We're trying to be as patient as we can. Things are progressing the way we want. Safety is the most important factor. And you have to have the power to do things. That's where we're at. There are a lot of different things you can play through, but ultimately it's about not having a long-term problem as opposed to short-term."
Getzlaf also says he hopes to travel with the team on its two-game road trip to Colorado on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday. But if he doesn't play tonight, expect the four centers to be Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell, Antoine Vermette and Logan Shaw.
It also looks as if defenseman Korbinian Holzer will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games. He'll likely replace rookie defenseman Brandon Montour, who stayed out for the pregame skate.
John Gibson was off the ice first, so it appears he'll make his ninth consecutive start in goal for Anaheim. Gibson stopped 34-of-36 shots two nights ago in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, his 30th start overall this season. The Stars are expected to counter with Antti Niemi, who has won in both starts against the Ducks this season with 33- and 34-save performances, respectively. The veteran netminder has a 17-10-1 all-time record, 2.47 goals-against average and .912 save percentage vs. Anaheim.
The Stars, meanwhile, will be without their captain Jamie Benn for at least one more game. Benn ranks second on the club in scoring (34 points, 10g/24a), but has missed three consecutive games with a foot injury.
Video: The Ducks look ahead to the matchup with Dallas
Ducks center Nate Thompson continues his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during an offseason workout in early June, but today he spoke with reporters after skating for the third consecutive day. "It's good to feel like a hockey player again," said Thompson, who also missed the first 2 1/2 months of last season recovering from shoulder surgery.
Head coach Randy Carlyle says Thompson is still "a ways away" and doesn't expect the veteran center to be available until after the All-Star break (January 26-30) at the least. "He looks good off the ice, but there's a lot of road to make up there," said Carlyle. "That injury is pretty severe and one that takes a long time to heal and get comfortable."
Video: Nate Thompson on his return to skating after surgery
Potential Line Combinations