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At the Rink: Bruins at Ducks

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks' already thin defense still is without defenseman Clayton Stoner, and goalie Jason LaBarbera also will sit out Monday against the Boston Bruins at Honda Center because of an upper-body injury.

Goalie Igor Bobkov was recalled and will serve as backup to goalie Frederik Andersen, who likely would have started anyway.

Stoner has been skating but is not ready to return after a case of the mumps.

"It took more out of me than I thought," Stoner said. "I'm just taking it day-by-day, trying get some energy back … hopefully [I can return] Wednesday, but no guarantees."

Stoner is the third Ducks player to get mumps after right wing Corey Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin. He said he didn't really get advice from the two on how to get through it.

"Just try and breathe," Stoner said. "It felt like I was breathing through a straw out there today."

Stoner's absence, along with Beauchemin and fellow defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Mark Fistric, leaves Anaheim with three defensemen with a combined 21 games of NHL experience. And the Ducks are aware of the challenge that awaits them.

"Whoever they've got in the lineup, they play the same way," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Claude [Julien, Boston coach] plays the same way, and they have to play the same way to be the Boston Bruins. They've got a lot of tenacity. They compete and they never quit. And they play fast."

One wrinkle in Anaheim's lineup is the move of wing Devante Smith-Pelly to center. Boudreau initially tried it Nov. 25 and has liked the experiment so far. Smith-Pelly played a handful of games at center in the American Hockey League last season. He lost eight of 10 faceoffs Saturday and was working with center Ryan Kesler on draws at the morning skate.

"Obviously it's a big difference from playing wing pretty much my whole life," Smith-Pelly said. "I'm hoping to get better if I'm needed … I was excited for a new challenge. I'm willing to do anything."

Boston kicks off a four-game trip after an 8-3-1 record in November.

"Great teams out here," right wing Reilly Smith said. "It will be difficult, for sure. I remember last year because it was definitely a tough road trip. I think we were lucky to get one win out of it. I look for a better effort this time around, but you're not going to win these games unless you're firing on all cylinders."

It is a homecoming for Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who grew up in the area and will have about 10 friends and family members in attendance. This will be his second appearance in Anaheim; he'll play his first game at Staples Center on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"It's been a while since I've actually come home and played a game," Miller said. "It's exciting to be able to see my family."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Milan Lucic - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Reilly Smith - Chris Kelly - Seth Griffith

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Simon Gagne

Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug

Joe Morrow - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Scratched: Craig Cunningham, Matt Fraser, Zach Trotman

Injured: David Krejci (undisclosed), Zdeno Chara (knee), Adam McQuaid (thumb), David Warsofsky (groin)


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Rene Bourque - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Devante Smith-Pelly - Jakob Silfverberg

Patrick Maroon - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Josh Manson

Hampus Lindholm - Mat Clark

Eric Brewer - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Igor Bobkov

Scratched: Rickard Rakell, Jesse Blacker

Injured: Clayton Stoner (mumps), Ben Lovejoy (finger), Francois Beauchemin (finger), John Gibson (groin), Mark Fistric (back/facial), Jason LaBarbera (upper body), Dany Heatley (groin)

Status report: Getzlaf and Perry did not skate so the lines were mixed. Maroon skated on the fourth line and Bourque on the second line. Fistric skated with a full cage because of a facial injury but is not ready to return. ... The Bruins did not do line rushes.

Who's hot: Perry and Getzlaf each had three-point games Saturday. Perry has four goals and seven points in nine career games against the Bruins. ... Hamilton had an overtime goal and an assist Friday. … Eriksson has 31 points in 41 games against Anaheim.

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