Skip to main content

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Ducks

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

BLACKHAWKS (30-16-2) at DUCKS (32-11-6)

TV: SNE, SNO, SNP, WGN, PRIME

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy used the words "tired" and 'disappointed" to describe his teammates' mood. But there isn't much time to dwell because they play Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center in a potential Western Conference Final preview.

It's about as tough a turnaround as it gets after Anaheim lost 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

"This is an elite team that we're playing tonight," Lovejoy said Friday. "We're tired. We're coming off a terrible game. We need to be mentally prepared from the start. We need to go out and play one of the smartest games of the year because your legs aren't as perfect as you like them to be."

Lovejoy was one of a handful of Ducks that skated at an optional practice. Most of the players' time was spent at a video session after the Ducks allowed five second-period goals to the Sharks. The main concern was the number of odd-man rushes allowed.

"We always have to pay attention to the details of the game," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And last night the details got away from us, and that's why they had odd-man rushes. That's why we had bad line changes."

Anaheim has lost two straight in regulation once this season, against Chicago and San Jose on Nov. 28-29. The Ducks subsequently won seven in a row. Lovejoy knows what a win Friday would mean in the present and future.

"We've done the really good regular season," he said. "We've been there. We want to continue winning. We want to win every game and we want to prove to other teams [and] prove to ourselves that we can rebound."

Chicago is in the same mindset. It lost three one-goal leads and allowed the game-winning goal with 3:37 to go in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. It was the third game this month that the Blackhawks went into the third period tied but didn't get a point, which has contributed to their 5-6-0 record in January.

"Traditionally we find a way to get points, and then you hopefully get the second [point] in overtime if you don't close it out like we didn't do against L.A.," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we were playing the right way … I think it's one of those things [where] you want to be confident. You want to be out there. You want to see yourself doing the right things. I think as a team we want to be in position when we're playing in the last five or 10 minutes of a tight game."

Beyond the game, the mind of many in the Blackhawks' organization is on Hockey Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita, who is suffering from serious health problems.

"I think more than anything, it's cool just getting to know those guys a little bit," forward Patrick Kane said of the times he's met Mikita. "You read about them as a kid and watch different highlight clips of them. You get a chance to meet those guys and hang out with them a little bit; you become pretty close with them. It's better than any advice you could receive."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Teuvo Teravainen

Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - David Rundblad

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

Michal Rozsival - Johnny Oduya

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Dennis Rasmussen, Tim Erixon

Suspended: Daniel Carcillo

Injured: Kris Versteeg (hand), Trevor van Riemsdyk (knee)

DUCKS

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Jakob Silfverberg

Devante Smith-Pelly - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Eric Brewer

Injured: None

Status report: Quenneville didn't indicate whether there would be any lineup changes. … Bourque stayed out for extra work, so it could be his turn to get scratched. … Brewer was taken off injured reserve and Boudreau said he wants the veteran to get a couple of full practices in before returning to the lineup. "We'll implement him then," Boudreau said. "Probably [Tuesday] against Carolina he'll get a start."

Who's hot: Kane and Sharp each had one goal and one assist Wednesday. … Rundblad has two goals and an assist in his past three games. … Maroon has goals in three straight games and points in five in a row. … Beleskey has goals in two straight games and points in three in a row.

View More