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Morning Report: Gibson to Start, LaBarbera to Backup Tonight vs. Detroit

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

Morning Skate Photos

After completing the Alberta sweep with victories at Calgary and Edmonton, the Ducks have returned home where they’ll open a three-game homestand tonight against a once familiar foe, the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight concludes the season series between the two former rivals, with the Ducks taking the first meeting by a 3-2 score at Joe Louis Arena in the club’s second game of the 2014-15 campaign. In that game, Ryan Getzlaf collected his 19th career multi-goal performance, including the game-winner with 24 seconds remaining in regulation.

First off the ice this morning was goaltender John Gibson, who will make his sixth consecutive start in net. Gibson stopped 26 of 27 shots faced in Saturday’s victory at Edmonton (his fifth victory this season), and has gone 3-2-0 in the six games since his recall from the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL on Feb. 10. Also on the ice for the morning skate was goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who was recalled from Norfolk.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed LaBarbera as tonight’s backup netminder, and says Frederik Andersen may be ready to play later this week. Andersen, who has been on injured reserve since Feb. 8, did some work with Ducks goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson and assistant coach Scott Niedermayer prior to the team’s morning skate, but also stayed on and took shots from his teammates during the 30-minute session.

“Freddy practiced well today, so I’ve got to believe it’s sooner than later,” said Boudreau. “I know I’ve said that before, but I don’t know the exact date. I’d like to think he’ll be available by week’s end, but I’m not the doctor or goalie coach. I’m just speculating on what I’m seeing out there.”

Yesterday, the Ducks announced that the club had placed veteran goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers. He has since cleared, and Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray will discuss his status with Bryzgalov’s camp later today to determine his next steps.

Defenseman Clayton Stoner, who missed Saturday’s game due to a lower-body injury, is expected to be paired with rookie Josh Manson. Cam Fowler and Ben Lovejoy were paired up, as were Francois Beauchemin and Hampus Lindholm. Defenseman Eric Brewer and left wing Rene Bourque appear to be tonight’s scratches.

Detroit is coming off one of the wildest games in recent memory. In their game at Dallas on Saturday, the Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to tie the game, only to again fall behind by two, rally back with two goals to tie the game (again), and finally win 7-6 in overtime. They became the first team since 1934 to trail by two in the third period, tie the game, trail by two again, and then win, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.

Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and four points in the win, and Niklas Kronwall finished with two points, including the game-winning overtime tally. Detroit may be without the services of their captain, Henrik Zetterberg, who was injured late in the second period of that game and returned for one shift in the third. Zetterberg traveled with the team but did not practice yesterday. The 34-year-old leads his team in scoring, with 15 goals and 49 points in 57 games.

“A lot of us have experience playing this team, so we know the style of hockey that they play,” said Fowler, who was born in Windsor, Ontario, but grew up in the Detroit area. “They like to possess the puck and make life difficult for us. We’ll have to be on our toes and be ready for the start of the game.”

Fellow Michigander Ryan Kesler says a few extra eyes back home will be watching. “It’s always a special time when you play these guys,” said Kesler, who hails from Livonia. “I’ll have friends and family watching back home. We’ll have to be ready. We’ll need four lines and everyone going tonight.”

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