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Ducks visit Canadiens with eyes on playoff berth

Point or Coyotes loss punches Anaheim's postseason ticket

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

DUCKS (40-22-9) at CANADIENS (33-34-6)


MONTREAL -- The Anaheim Ducks can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a point against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

The Ducks will also clinch if the Arizona Coyotes lose to the Edmonton Oilers. Anaheim is in second place in the Pacific Division with 89 points, four behind the Los Angeles Kings.

"You know what though? I got to tell you, I got to believe Arizona or [the] Calgary [Flames] are going to lose one more game, so it's not the rah-rah speech to clinch in this building," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate.

Boudreau did not want to revisit Anaheim's struggles through the first half of the season. The Ducks went 17-17-7 in their first 41 games; they are 23-5-2 since Jan. 13.

"I try not to live in October or November, quite frankly, and just look forward, because the toughest part of the year is yet to come," Boudreau said.

Anaheim started 1-7-2 and did not go over .500 until Jan. 3.

"It's been crazy," Ducks center Ryan Kesler said. "I think we were 30th in the League at one point to where we are now, it's obviously a huge difference. You can see when a team buys in and does the right things, but not just half the team, everybody bought in, and you see what we can do when we do that."

With left wing David Perron sidelined by a right shoulder injury he sustained Sunday, Boudreau moved Brandon Pirri onto the Ducks' top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

"He's an offensive guy, I just want to see him complement them," Boudreau said. "It's tough playing with star players, it takes a certain kind of mentality. We haven't tried Brandon there but we're going to try him and see how he fits in there."

Pirri, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 29, has no points in three games with Anaheim since returning from an ankle injury. He will be playing with Getzlaf and Perry for the first time.

"It's not easy coming back from being out for so long and learning a new system," Pirri said after practice Monday. "But that was a bonus for me, not playing, I could watch a little more and learn the systems and transition a little quicker. Obviously there's a couple of games adjustment period. I think playing with those guys it's going to make my life pretty easy just because they're so talented."

Pirri said the most important thing he needs to do to adjust to playing on the line is to not overthink it.

"They're really good players, but at the same time I still have to play my game and not force them the puck just because of who they are," Pirri said.

That's exactly the approach Boudreau hopes he'll take.

"I can only go by, when I played, if I had a chance to play with Lanny McDonald, all my thoughts were, 'I've got to get Lanny McDonald the puck' and I don't feel comfortable," Boudreau said. "You're not playing your own game. You've got to get guys in that position playing their own game and not worry about who they're playing with."

Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban and center David Desharnais took part in the morning skate for the first time since each was injured. Each wore no-contact jerseys and neither will return Tuesday. 

"Well, that was a morning skate, but it's nice to see some guys get closer to getting back," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.

Subban will miss his sixth straight game because of neck injury sustained March 10; Desharnais has been sidelined by a broken foot since Feb. 15.

"Those two guys bring a big presence to our team, both leaders and both have been here through tough times and good times," Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said. "So seeing familiar faces on the ice always gives you a little boost and they're both players with high energy so it helps even the mood on the ice and around the room."

Montreal, which has lost four of five games with Subban out of the lineup, has 11 injured players.

"This is a very good team we're playing against tonight so it's going to be good test for us," Beaulieu said. "Obviously our team looks a little different from the beginning of the year, but it's just another opportunity and it will be a good challenge for us. We're up against a great team, special teams too. They're top of the League, so it's going to be a challenge."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Pirri - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Jamie McGinn - Rickard Rakell - Mike Santorelli

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Garbutt

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Korbinian Holzer - Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson

Frederik Andersen

Injured: David Perron (shoulder), Chris Stewart (jaw), Sami Vatanen (upper body), Nate Thompson (lower body)

Scratched: Clayton Stoner  


Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Paul Byron

Lars Eller - Tomas Plekanec - Torrey Mitchell

Stefan Matteau - Michael McCarron - Phillip Danault

Lucas Lessio - Jacob De La Rose - Mike Brown

Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin  

Nathan Beaulieu - Greg Pateryn

Joel Hanley - Darren Dietz

Mike Condon

Ben Scrivens

Injured: P.K. Subban (neck), Carey Price (lower body), Mark Barberio (concussion-like symptoms), Brendan Gallagher (lower body), Sven Andrighetto (upper body), Daniel Carr (lower body), Jeff Petry (sports hernia), Brian Flynn (lower body), David Desharnais (broken foot), Tom Gilbert (knee), Victor Bartley (lower body)

Scratched: None

Status report: Perron is returning to Southern California on Tuesday to have an MRI. "You lose an inside presence, a guy that since he came over our power play's clicking at 28 percent or better and somebody that was a good fit to make three lines," Boudreau said. … Price worked out after the morning skate, taking shots from Carr and Flynn.

Who's hot: McGinn has scored in three straight games. … Silfverberg has four goals and two assists in his past four games. … Kesler has three goals and four assists in his past five games. … Cogliano has a goal and four assists in his past four games. … Lindholm has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … McCarron scored his first NHL goal Sunday.

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