As far back as last July, when the 2010-11 NHL schedule was released, you could point to the season-ending back-to-back between the rival Ducks and Kings and anticipate it would have some playoff implications. That’s exactly what has panned out going into the final weekend.
|“You always want to be a little more solidified going into the last two,” Ryan said. “But if there are any games to get ready for the playoffs, it’s certainly against the Kings. They bring out the best of us and I think we do likewise for them. It’s going to be a fun weekend.” |
Currently needing two points to clinch a playoff spot, Anaheim had its final full practice of the regular season on Thursday at Honda Center. The only thing left in the club’s docket is that huge home-and-home set with the Kings tomorrow (at home) and Saturday (at Staples Center).
“You always want to be a little more solidified going into the last two,” Bobby Ryan
said. “But if there are any games to get ready for the playoffs, it’s certainly against the Kings. They bring out the best of us and I think we do likewise for them. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”Video of Ducks Comments
If the Ducks (45-30-5, 95 points, seventh in the Western Conference) can earn those crucial two points, they would join the Kings, who clinched a spot last night in a 3-2 shootout win over Phoenix, in the postseason fray. It would be the first time in the two franchises’ history that they both make the playoffs the same season. Los Angeles currently occupies the fourth spot in the West with a 46-28-6 mark (98 points).
“It has been unbelievable and we know the situation,” Teemu Selanne
said. “The last two games are going to be huge and fun. It’s like a mini-playoff series. They clinched a playoff spot and that is good for hockey here. Hopefully we can both be in there for the first time.”
There is a possibility of Anaheim locking down a playoff spot tonight if Dallas falters in regulation to the Avalanche. But nobody on the club was counting on that possibility. They instead were choosing to focus on the fact that if they better their rivals in at least one of these next two games, the postseason will be in their future.
“We can't control what happens between the other teams that we're in the race against,” Duck head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We'd like that to happen. I don't think that is something that we're going to go to the bank with. You don’t get into the playoffs without earning it. We're going to have to go out and earn opportunity to qualify for the playoffs.”
|“It has been unbelievable and we know the situation,” Selanne said. “The last two games are going to be huge and fun. It’s like a mini-playoff series. They clinched a playoff spot and that is good for hockey here. Hopefully we can both be in there for the first time.” |
The Ducks put themselves in good position with a 6-2 victory over San Jose last night at Honda Center. The team came out determined and scored six goals (four on the power play) in the first 40 minutes of play. Corey Perry
enjoyed a memorable night by netting his third hat trick of the season and also picked up his league-leading 50th goal. He and his linemate Ryan Getzlaf
each had a game-high four points in the game, while Teemu Selanne
added three more of his own.
Possibly the only low point in the game for Anaheim was when starting goaltender Ray Emery departed his position in net midway through the second period. It was deemed a minor injury before the game ended and that he could have returned to the ice if need be. He did not participate in practice on Thursday though and gave an update on his condition
“Around the start of the second, I felt a little something and a bit funny,” said Emery, who made a triumphant return this season from a career-threatening hip injury . “I tried it out for 5-10 minutes there. I told them it would probably be best if I got out of there and took care of myself.
“I felt a lot better this morning than I thought I would last night. It’s a thing where I’m trying to be cautious because of I’m wary of things that I have had in the past. I want to be able to contribute when I’m in there for a long period of time.”Notes
Veteran forward Todd Marchant also did not skate in Thursday’s practice, as he was dealing with flu-like symptoms. “He was running a fever,” Carlyle said. “He had some aches and pains. We just felt with his birth certificate, the number of minutes he played and the draining schedule we've been under that it was best for him to sit home and rest.”