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Kevin Bieksa to miss Game 2 for Ducks against Oilers

Defenseman out with lower-body injury; Sami Vatanen could return for Anaheim

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa will miss Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports) because of a lower-body injury.

Bieksa was injured in the first period of the Ducks' 5-3 loss in Game 1 on Wednesday when he collided with a teammate; he finished the second period but didn't return for the third.

"He should be available late in the series," coach Randy Carlyle said Friday after the morning skate.

Bieksa had four assists and is plus-5 in five Stanley Cup Playoff and was averaging 16:42 of ice time.

Bieksa brings veteran leadership and an extra edge to Anaheim's defense. The 35-year-old had 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) and 63 penalty minutes in 81 games during his second season with the Ducks, down from 99 penalty minutes in 2015-16.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Edmonton's preparation would not change.

"I say that with a lot of respect for Kevin Bieksa," McLellan said. "He's obviously a tremendous player. He's played a lot and has experience. But nothing happens in a 24-hour period to [make you] revamp or retool your game."

Signs continue to point to the return of Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen, who has been out with an upper-body injury. Vatanen played in Game 1 of the first round against the Calgary Flames but has not played in the four games since.

Vatanen did not stay out for additional work with the extras after the morning skate, another indicator he is close to returning.

"Again, it's always nice when your players are very, very close to coming back," Carlyle said. "And it gives you an option to add a player of that caliber to your lineup."

Korbinian Holzer is likely to play if Vatanen isn't ready. Top-pair defenseman Cam Fowler returned for the Ducks on Wednesday. He had been out since injuring his knee April 4 against Calgary.

"We didn't ease him back into the lineup, that's for sure," Carlyle said. "He played 24 minutes (26:33), I think, but that's what he usually plays. So I thought his performance was very actually good for missing the time that he missed. Tonight, I expect the same."

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