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Canucks try to keep playoff hopes alive vs. Ducks

by Sean McCullen

DUCKS (50-20-8) at CANUCKS (35-32-11)


Last 10: Anaheim 5-4-1; Vancouver 5-4-1

Season series: This is the fifth and final game. The Anaheim Ducks have outscored the Vancouver Canucks 14-2 in their past two games, including a 9-1 win Jan. 15, and 21-6 through the first four.

Big story: The Ducks will look to extend their lead on the idle San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division after failing to do so Sunday night. They can also move to within a point of the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Western Conference with a win.

Anaheim remained one point ahead of the second-place Sharks in the Pacific and three points behind the Blues in the conference standings after its 4-2 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. The Sharks, who have played one more game than the Ducks, don't return to action until a showdown in Anaheim on Wednesday. The Blues, who lost 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks in a Sunday matinee, host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

The Canucks are six points behind the Dallas Stars, who hold the second and final Western Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with four games remaining. In addition to the six-point gap, the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators are between Vancouver and Dallas in the standings.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Corey Perry's 42nd goal pulled Anaheim within one of Edmonton in the third period, but the Ducks could not complete the rally. Jakob Silfverberg was credited with a goal when a rebound of his own shot went in off Edmonton's Sam Gagner at 1:20 of the first period, but the Oilers scored three unanswered goals in the second.

Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller has allowed 11 goals and has a .836 save percentage in his past three starts (0-2-1). He returned from a three-game mental break to allow four goals on 17 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday.

"Normally, I feel pretty good finding my way, getting back into it," Hiller said after the game Sunday. "I think there were some good things, especially early in the game, I made a couple of good saves. I have to build on that and try not to worry too much about it. I have to keep looking forward and take games as they come."

Canucks: Vancouver snapped a three-game slide with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. Alexander Edler tied the game a little more than a minute into the third period, and Brad Richardson scored the game-winner with 1:23 remaining to give the Canucks their first win against the Kings in five games this season.

"Richie has been there all year long. [The game Saturday was] one you have to do things on the wall. [The Kings play] along the wall and forces you there quite a bit," coach John Tortorella said of Richardson. "He does all those dirty jobs. Nice to see him get rewarded. … Faceoffs, you see how he's digging in on faceoffs. You guys know how I feel about him. He's a tremendous pro and has been a huge acquisition for this club."

Henrik Sedin returned to the lineup after missing four games with a leg injury.

Eddie Lack would tie the Vancouver record for consecutive starts by a rookie goaltender at 19 (Corey Hirsch) if Tortorella goes with him as expected. The 26-year-old Swede is 8-8-2 in his past 18 starts with a .902 save percentage.

Who's hot: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf has 12 points in his past 10 games. He has at least a point in five of six games and eight of 10. Perry has five goals in his past five games. … Canucks right wing Zack Kassian has at least a point in five of six games. He has two goals and six assists over that span.

Injury report: Anaheim defenseman Mark Fistric (lower body) and goalie Frederik Andersen (head) are day-to-day. Defenseman Cam Fowler (sprained MCL) and right wing Tim Jackman (broken left hand) are out. … Vancouver defenseman Christopher Tanev (hand) is out. Defenseman Yannick Weber (undisclosed) was scratched Saturday. Tortorella said he was "nicked up."

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