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Preview: Ducks Close Out Homestand on Hall of Fame Night at Honda Center

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (8-7-3, 19 points) close out a five-game homestand this evening against the Florida Panthers (7-10-2, 16 points) at Honda Center. (5 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). Currently in the midst of an odd portion in the schedule, this marks just the second game in seven days for the Ducks, who most recently defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-2, on Wednesday.

Anaheim enters tonight's game with wins in two of it past three games (2-1-0) and has earned points in four of the past five (six points, 2-1-2). This marks the opener of the club's third set of back-to-backs, which continues tomorrow in San Jose. The Ducks are 2-1-1 in back-to-backs this season.

John Gibson could make his third consecutive start tonight and his 16th of the season. The 24-year-old netminder stopped 40-of-42 shots in the win against Boston and sports a 3-0 record when facing 40 shots or more in a game this season.

Tonight's matchup concludes the two-game season series between these two clubs, which opened with an 8-3 Ducks loss in Sunrise, Florida on October 26. Kalle Kossila (first NHL goal), Andrew Cogliano and Logan Shaw scored in the loss, which was followed up with a triumphant 4-1 victory over the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning two nights later. Antoine Vermette, who skated in his 1,000th career NHL game on Wednesday vs. Boston, paces current Ducks in scoring vs. Florida with 19 points (10g/9a) in 29 games.

This marks the end of a three-game California road trip for the Panthers, who opened their West Coast swing with a 2-0 victory over the Sharks on Thursday. They found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum yesterday afternoon when they failed to register a goal in a 4-0 defeat to the LA Kings. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak and gave the Panthers their seventh loss over their past 10 games (3-7-0). James Reimer made 16 stops for the Panthers and saw his record drop to 3-6-1 in 11 games. Meanwhile, veteran netminder Roberto Luongo could get the start tonight after his 35-save performance in the victory over San Jose - his first shutout of the season and the 74th of his career. Luongo enters tonight's game with a 4-3-1 record, 2.74 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

The Panthers could be without the services of veteran scorer Radim Vrbata, who did not return to the game yesterday after being struck in the face by a puck at the 1:34 mark of the first period. Florida has not yet given an official update on Vrbata, who recorded a hat trick in the victory over Anaheim in the first meeting of the season.

Hall of Fame Night
Tonight the Ducks will honor Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne for their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame with a special pregame ceremony that will take place promptly at 4:45 p.m. All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Hall of Fame pin honoring Selanne and Kariya. More information surrounding tonight's festivities can be found here.

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