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Canucks look for more at Anaheim

by Brian Compton /
CANUCKS (23-12-2) at DUCKS (10-19-6)


Last 10: Vancouver 7-2-1; Anaheim 3-6-1.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Anaheim earned a 4-3 win against Vancouver on Nov. 11 at the Honda Center.

Big Story: If the Ducks have any hopes of getting back into the postseason race, it will have to begin Thursday night, when they'll open a six-game homestand against the Canucks. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is hoping his club can string some wins together, which will require a more balanced scoring attack.

Anaheim enters Thursday's action 15 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"It's the only way you can win," Boudreau told the team's web site. "If you look at every good team, they get contributions throughout their lineup. Look at the Stanley Cup champions (Boston), they rolled four lines. If you can get four lines contributing, it makes you a very difficult team to play against.

"That has always been the goal of a team I coached is to be a four-line team, rather than rely on two-three players."

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver continued its winning ways Wednesday night, as Andrew Ebbett redirected Kevin Bieksa's shot past Antti Niemi at 3:23 of overtime to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. Vancouver, which is now back atop the Northwest Division standings, has won five of its last six games. The Canucks also improved to 9-2-1 over their last 12 road matches.

Ebbett, meanwhile, has 3 goals in his last two games.

"I really liked the way we played in the first two periods, even though they came back and tied it up," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "In the third period, we were tested and pushed by different calls on the ice, but we still managed to keep our composure, get the job done shorthanded, and we were rewarded in overtime with a real nice goal."

Ducks: Anaheim returned from the holiday break Monday night in impressive fashion, as it also earned a 3-2 victory at San Jose. Andrew Cogliano scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the second period and Jonas Hiller made 36 saves in helping the Ducks end a 13-game winless skid on the road.

"To only have two road wins and the last one coming on Oct. 27 was a little embarrassing," said Cogliano, who ended a 10-game scoring drought. "That's not the ideal situation. The difference was having all four lines contribute. When that happens, good things follow."

Who's Hot: Daniel Sedin has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last six games for the Canucks, while Henrik Sedin has points in 11 of 13. Roberto Luongo, who made 33 saves Wednesday night, is 9-1-1 in his last 11 appearances. … Ducks forward Matt Beleskey has points in two of his last three games.

Injury Report: Vancouver is expected to be without Chris Higgins (hand), Aaron Rome (thumb), David Booth (knee), Aaron Volpatti (shoulder) and Byron Bitz (hip). … Jason Blake (forearm) is out for the Ducks, while Saku Koivu (groin) could return to the lineup after missing seven consecutive games. Right wing Devante Smith-Pelly suffered a broken bone in his left foot Monday night while playing for Canada against Finland at the World Junior Championship and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

Stat Pack: Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa scored his first goal Monday night since Jan. 16 against Edmonton and just his third career goal in 150 games.

Puck Drop: "We all have dreams, right? You go out every game and you hope that you can win every game. That's it. I go through the schedule and say, 'OK, we need a good 10-game win streak or a 13-game winning streak.' It's easier said than done. Everything is possible." -- Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau

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