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Ducks could be without captain Getzlaf vs. Stars

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

STARS (39-31-10) at DUCKS (50-23-7)

TV: NBCSN, SN

ANAHEIM - The Anaheim Ducks are expected to return three players to the lineup to try and clinch the top seed in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but it is unclear if captain Ryan Getzlaf will play Wednesday against the Dallas Stars at Honda Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

Getzlaf did not skate and coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that Getzlaf, who typically doesn't skate, was getting the morning off. But when pressed further, Boudreau said coyly that "maybe he's getting the morning off."

Getzlaf sat out last Friday and Boudreau referenced that Getzlaf wasn't fully healthy, although Getzlaf has practiced the past two days.

Anaheim can win the West with a victory in any fashion because it holds the tiebreaker with the St. Louis Blues. It will get defenseman Clayton Stoner and forwards Matt Beleskey and Tim Jackman back for its regular season home finale. Stoner has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury.

"It's something that's important to us at this point," Stoner said. "But at the same time, we want to go out and play our game. We've talked on how we want to play and we went over a lot of stuff with this time off, and we're just worried about how we're going to play. It's hockey. If you don't get the result tonight, it's not that big a deal, as long as we're playing the right way and getting ready for the playoffs.

"But at the same time, we're all competitors and we want to win that West."

Beleskey, the Ducks' third-leading goal scorer, and Jackman, will return after they missed three games and 16 games, respectively, with lower-body injuries. Jackman said it was important to return before the playoffs.

"It feels good to be part of the team again, and try to get close to being healthy again," Jackman said. "I'm just looking forward to getting in there, trying to find my game as fast as I can and help out the team."

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said right wing Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Patrik Nemeth will return, although that wasn't reflected in the initial line rushes.

Nichushkin and Nemeth missed most of the season because of hip surgery and an arm laceration, respectively. They were scratched from the Stars' previous game Monday, a 5-1 win at the San Jose Sharks.

"My plan for [Nichushkin] is to get him some quality ice time," Ruff said. "I'd like to get him involved in our second power play and see where he's at. I don't think he went that well in Nashville but, to me, there was fatigue in his game, I thought. He should be fresh now."

Dallas is 12-5-0 in its past 17 games and 7-1-0 in its past eight road games.

"I think we seem to play a little bit smarter and little simpler game on the road," center Shawn Horcoff said. "I think when we get ourselves in trouble we're trying to do a little bit too much offensively and we end up turning pucks over and giving other teams offense."

The Stars are out of playoff contention and said they simply want to play the right way in their road finale against a team with much bigger plans.

"If anything I'm jealous that they're back in [the playoffs] and we're not," Horcoff said.

Here are the projected lineups:

STARS

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin

Shawn Horcoff - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Travis Moen - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Patrik Nemeth - Trevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Jason Demers

Jhonas Enroth

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: None

DUCKS

Jiri Sekac - Ryan Getzlaf/Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson- Jakob Silfverberg

Patrick Maroon - Chris Wagner - Tim Jackman

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Scratched: James Wisniewski, Tomas Fleischmann, Stefan Noesen, Emerson Etem, Korbinian Holzer

Injured: None

Status report: Enroth and Andersen were off the ice first … Beleskey skated on the second line after he spent the previous two days on the top line … Wisniewski stayed out for extra work and will likely be scratched with Stoner coming in.

Who's hot: Seguin is on a five-game point streak and has points in nine of 10 games. Benn has nine points in his past five games. Sekac had his second two-point game for Anaheim last Friday. Rakell has three goals and three assists in his past eight games.

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