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Preview: Surging Ducks Open Four-Game Homestand Tonight vs. Blackhawks

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks found tremendous success on their recent five-game road trip. Now it's time for them to continue it at home. Riding a season-high four-game winning streak, the Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in the opener of a four-game homestand. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. with TV and radio coverage on NBCSN and AM 830, respectively.

In addition to its four-game winning streak, Anaheim has gone 6-1-0 in its last seven, and has points in eight of its past nine games (6-1-2) and nine of its past 11 (7-2-2). The Ducks find themselves in second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind the Calgary Flames, who have a game in hand. Sitting in third place are the San Jose Sharks, two points behind the Ducks with a game in hand.

Daniel Sprong is expected to make his Ducks debut tonight, two days after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Sprong, 21, has nine points (4g/5a) in 42 career games with the Penguins, but posted a 32-goal, 65-point rookie AHL season in 2017-18 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton where he led the club in goals, assists and points. Yesterday he skated on a line with Nick Ritchie and Adam Henrique. "It's a new beginning here," he said yesterday. "A new opportunity. I'm excited to be here. Can't wait to get going." Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle adds, "He's provided offense at the American Hockey League level. In the situation in Pittsburgh, he was kind of squeezed out, if you look at the offensive players they have in their lineup. It's an opportunity for us to add a player we feel can play in our top-9 and provide scoring."

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf enters tonight's matchup with points in three consecutive games (2g/3a) and 10 points (4g/6a) in his past eight. Getzlaf (255g/642a) is three points shy of becoming the second player in franchise history to record 900 points, second only to Hall-of-Famer Teemu Selanne, who finished his Ducks career with 988 points (457g/531a). Henrique is riding a season-high five-game point streak (1g/4a) and has eight points (2g/6a) in his past eight, while Pontus Aberg (3g/1a) and Rickard Rakell (1g/3a) have four points in their past two games.

The Blackhawks come in with four consecutive losses (all in regulation) and have dropped six of their past seven (1-6-0). In terms of points, they rank 29th in the league, two points ahead of 30th-ranked St. Louis and 31st-ranked LA. Patrick Kane leads the way with 30 points (13g/17a), while captain Jonathan Toews ranks second with 22 points (12g/11a). In goal, Corey Crawford brings a 5-11-1 record, 3.17 goals-against average and .903 save percentage into tonight's game. Dylan Strome has three points (2g/1a) in four games with the Blackhawks after he was acquired with Brendan Perlini from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Nick Schmaltz on November 25. Perlini is looking for his first point with the Blackhawks in four games.

This marks the second meeting between the Blackhawks and Ducks, which saw Chicago earn a 3-1 victory on October 23 at the United Center. Despite the loss, the Ducks have won four of the past six against the Blackhawks (4-2-0) dating to March 9, 2017. At Honda Center, the Ducks have won two in a row against the Blackhawks, outscoring them 10-3. Getzlaf paces active Ducks in career scoring vs. Chicago with 33 points (8g/25a) in 21 games. Jakob Silfverberg has five points (3g/2a) in his past four games vs. Chicago, while Andrew Cogliano (1/4a) and Ryan Kesler (1g/3a) are both riding four-game home point streaks against the Blackhawks. The three-game season series will conclude at Honda Center on Wednesday, February 27.

Video: The Ducks preview the matchup with the Blackhawks

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