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Ducks' Stewart will play against Senators

Anaheim looks to gain in Pacific Division race

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

DUCKS (40-23-10) at SENATORS (34-33-8)
 
TV: 7 p.m. ET, PRIME, FS-SD, CITY, TVAS2

OTTAWA -- The Anaheim Ducks are expected to have forward Chris Stewart back in the lineup Saturday when they play the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

Stewart missed 19 games with a fractured jaw. It's expected he will play on a line with center Ryan Getzlaf and Brandon Pirri.

"It's time to go back to work," Stewart said. "The hardest part is behind me. Now it's just getting back to doing what we love and playing hockey."

"He was playing really good when he got hurt," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's a big strong, physical guy. We're a heavy team most nights, and those are the kind of guys we miss."

The Ducks clinched a playoff spot with the point they earned in their 6-5 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, their second defeat in a row. They are 3-4-2 in their last nine games.

Anaheim began Saturday in second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind the first-place Los Angeles Kings and two points ahead of the third-place San Jose Sharks.

"I feel like we've been scrapping to get by," Getzlaf said. "I'm not overly thrilled the way we've been playing on a consistent basis. We've shown spurts of it here and there, but not the consistency we were playing with two months prior.

"We're trying to round out the game. The main thing always going into the playoffs is you're playing the right way and doing the right things. It's not about the wins and losses once you've clinched. It's about the way you're playing. You can play good hockey games and still lose at the end of the night. If we're playing the right way, we'll be happy."

Center Ryan Kesler will miss his second game on personal leave.

Defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Sami Vatanen are day-to-day with injuries. Boudreau said Vatanen will take the warmup and will be a game time decision.

If neither Bieksa nor Vatanen can play, rookie Shea Theodore, who was called up from San Diego of the American Hockey League on March 23, will play.

Theodore, drafted in the first round by the Ducks (No. 26) in 2013, was called up for 13 games in December and January. After going without a point in his first seven NHL games, he had points in five of his past six games (one goal, four assists).

He averaged 18:31 in ice time.

"If he does play, which means Sami or Kevin couldn't play, then what I expect is to see the Shea that left," Boudreau said. "He went down to the American League, played 30 minutes a game and has done extremely well down there, but he was doing extremely well when he was up here, so we expect more of the same.

"I've seen what he can do so I am comfortable [putting him in], but our expectations are greater, too. In Calgary [where he made his NHL debut Dec. 29], we were hoping he was just OK and didn't get beat and everything else. Now I expect him, if he plays in the next couple of games, to be a real good player."

Frederik Andersen will start in goal for the Ducks and Craig Anderson will start for the Senators, who have lost two games in a row.

Defenseman Dion Phaneuf will miss his second game in a row with a lower-body injury.

Forward Chris Neil will return to the lineup after missing two games with illness. Center Scott Gomez will be a healthy scratch for the first time since he signed with the Senators on March 2.

Rookie Nick Paul will take Gomez's place between Ryan Dzingel and Bobby Ryan.

The Senators are 0-for-28 on the power in their past 11 games. They have slipped to 28th in the League with the man advantage.

"We have changed it. We've made adjustments," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "Your general structure doesn't change much on power plays. We've made changes on personnel, but your decision comes down to not everybody can play on the power play. It's a skill set. As frustrating as it sometimes is, you've got to work with what you've got and tweak it.

"It's been a work in progress. and we've spent a ton of time on it the last little while just to get it going."

The Senators have scored 14 power-play goals at home this season, last in the League. They have scored 53 power-play goals in 120 home games over the past three seasons.

Here are the projected lineups:

DUCKS

Chris Stewart - Ryan Getzlaf - Brandon Pirri

Jamie McGinn - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Shawn Horcoff - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Nate Thompson - Ryan Garbutt

Cam Fowler - Korbinian Holzer

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Shea Theodore - Clayton Stoner

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Scratched: Mike Santorelli, Ryan Kesler (personal reasons).

Injured: Kevin Bieksa (upper body), Simon Despres (undisclosed), David Perron (shoulder), Sami Vatanen (upper body).

SENATORS

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson

Ryan Dzingel - Nick Paul - Bobby Ryan

Matt Puempel - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil

Fredrik Claesson - Erik Karlsson

Marc Methot - Cody Ceci

Michael Kostka - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Scott Gomez.

Injured: Dion Phaneuf (lower body), Mark Borowiecki (knee), Kyle Turris (ankle), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Patrick Wiercioch (undisclosed).

Status report: Cogliano has the League's longest current consecutive games played streak with 695, the sixth longest in NHL history.

Who's hot: Karlsson has two assists in his past two games. … Cogliano has a goal and three assists in his past four games. Perry has a goal and an assist in his past two games.

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