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Preview: Ducks Look to Get Back on Track Against Bruins

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

A five-game homestand reaches its penultimate stage tonight as the Ducks (7-7-3, 17 points) host the Boston Bruins (6-6-4, 16 points) at Honda Center. (7 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). The Ducks, who are in the midst of playing just three games over a nine-day span, are coming off a 2-1 loss to the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will not play again until Sunday when they host the Florida Panthers.

This opens a two-game season series between the Ducks and Bruins and the lone game held in Anaheim. The Ducks enter tonight's game with a 17-9-6 all-time record against the Bruins, including an 8-4-4 mark at home. The Ducks have defeated the Bruins in seven consecutive games, marking the NHL's second-longest active win streak against the 'B's. (Washington holds the longest active win streak at 10 games). Anaheim is 10-1-1 in its last 12 meetings with Boston including four consecutive victories at Honda Center. The Ducks and Bruins will conclude the two-game series on January 30 at TD Garden. Antoine Vermette leads active Ducks in career scoring against Boston with 20 points (11g/9a) in 40 games.

With his next appearance, Vermette will become one of 17 active skaters and the 313th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career games. The 35-year-old center will also become the 10th player all-time to appear in his 1,000th game while a member of the Ducks and only the second to do so at Honda Center. (Fredrik Olausson was the first, Dec. 11, 2002 vs. Washington).

"It brings back memories when I was younger, looking up at some older guys. In my mind, they were really old," Vermette said, with a laugh. "Now I can see the perspective from the younger guys on our team now that I'm on the other side of the fence. It's going to be special." A Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015, Vermette has gone on to record 505 points (223g/282a) in 999 career NHL games with Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix/Arizona, Chicago and Anaheim.

Like the Ducks, the Bruins have been hit hard with injuries. Forwards Ryan Spooner (right groin adductor tear), David Backes (colon surgery), and defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken right fibula) have been sidelined for a considerable amount of time. To further compound the issue, the Bruins announced that forwards Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork will miss tonight's game (and the game tomorrow in LA) due to injuries suffered in Saturday's game vs. Toronto. Marchand ranks second on the team in goals (8) and points (15) while the rookie Bjork has nine points (3g/6a) in his first 16 career NHL games. David Krejci, out of the lineup since October 19 with an upper-body injury, traveled with the team and practiced yesterday. The 31-year-old center has been limited to six games this season, but has six points (1g/5a) over that span. He is listed as a game-time decision for tonight's contest.

"They're going through their fair share of injury problems and so are we," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "We'd expect a formidable opponent. Anybody that wears that black and gold over there has had some history of championship pedigree behind them."

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