By Kyle Shohara
Morning Skate Photos
Although it is the first day in April, there won’t be any tomfoolery on the ice from the Ducks as they continue to build for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. Leading the league in wins and standings points, Anaheim enters tonight’s action having won three in a row and seven of its past 10.
After taking a maintenance day yesterday, Ryan Kesler was back on the ice this morning. But based off of head coach Bruce Boudreau’s cryptic response to his status, there’s a good chance the former Selke Trophy winner rests tonight.
“I don’t know if he’s playing, but he’s good to go,” said Boudreau, who also said it’s a fine line between giving a guy rest and preventing rust. “Does it mean [a player] is going to get rusty? I don’t know the perfect answer to that, so we have to go by feel. If we decide to sit a guy, it might be because he’s played a lot of hockey. Maybe a couple of days off would make him feel better. That’s where we’re at.”
Kesler ranks third on the Ducks in scoring with 47 points (20g/27a) and is one of two players to have appeared in every game this season (also Andrew Cogliano).
First off the ice was Frederik Andersen, who enters tonight's action with a 33-11-5 record, 2.40 GAA and .914 SV%.
The Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division tonight by earning one point or more against the Edmonton Oilers. It would be the third consecutive year in which the Ducks finished atop the Pacific and the fourth time in franchise history (2007, 2013, 2014, 2015). The Ducks own the NHL’s longest active streak of division titles since 2012-13 and are the only team to win its division twice since the league debuted its four-division format in the 2013-14 regular season.
While it is no doubt an accomplishment, Boudreau and his players have bigger goals in mind.
“It’s something we wanted to do, but at the same time, our goals are bigger,” said Boudreau. “We won’t be throwing a party. In baseball, they’d be having a champagne party here, but this isn’t baseball. To us, it’s another step closer to solidifying where we want to be.”
“My first two full seasons we won the division,” said Kyle Palmieri. “We’re going in here with four games left and controlling our own destiny. It’s something to be proud of, but come playoff time, it doesn’t really mean anything other than home ice. Our focus is on the long run.”
TWEET TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT
Tonight marks the club’s third annual Social Media Night, and will feature several interactive opportunities for fans via the Ducks’ various social media channels, the Ducks’ official mobile app, in-arena and on the Fox Sports West telecast. Fans will be encouraged to post on Twitter and Instagram using the #DucksSocial hashtag before and during the game. Many of those posts will be displayed throughout Honda Center and on the broadcast during Social Media Night.
More on Social Media Night
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for a unique element to be revealed during player warm-ups (approximately 6:30 p.m. PDT).POTENTIAL LINE COMBINATIONS
Jiri Sekac-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon-Rickard Rakell-Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano-Nate Thompson-Jakob Silfverberg
Tomas Fleischmann-Chris Wagner-Emerson Etem
Hampus Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler-Sami Vatanen
Simon Despres-James Wisniewski