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Ducks could look to Palmieri, Vatanen for spark

by Corey Masisak

LOS ANGELES -- Coach Bruce Boudreau still didn't confirm it, but there could be a couple of changes to the lineup for the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen was officially recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League and forward Emerson Etem, who played in the first two games of this series, was sent down. Kyle Palmieri is expected to replace Etem for the Ducks, while Vatanen could also be a new addition for Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), who lead this Western Conference Second Round series 2-0.

"He's a great scorer. He led the American League in scoring when he was 19," Boudreau said of Palmieri. "He's got a great shot. His shot is as good as anybody's. He can skate and he's got a bit of physicality. That's what he brings."

Palmieri had 14 goals and 31 points in 71 games for the Ducks this season. He was also invited to the United States Olympic orientation camp before the season. He's been part of a rotating group of forwards that move up and down, and in and out of the lineup for Boudreau when he wants to juggle the team's depth.

"I just want to bring a lot of energy," Palmieri said. "Just getting pucks to the net and hopefully just being a little bit of a spark to get this going and get it back to 2-1."

Vatanen played 48 games for the Ducks this season and was the third-leading scorer among defensemen with six goals and 21 points. He was also a key contributor for Finland's bronze-medal winning team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When the NHL returned from the Olympic break, Vatanen did not. He went to the AHL before earning seven games near the end of the regular season. This would be his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut.

Regardless of who plays, the Ducks need to find a way to solve Jonathan Quick and the Kings' defense. Anaheim has three goals in two games, and the Ducks had few quality chances after Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in Game 2.

"This is a funny game," Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. "Kings are a living example like from last series. Momentum changes so quickly. That's the path we want to go for.

"Obviously we're disappointed, but this is like a golf round. Just forget the bad shots and focus on the next one. That's what this is all about now."

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon - Mathieu Perreault - Teemu Selanne

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Jakob Silfverberg

Devante Smith-Pelly - Nick Bonino - Kyle Palmieri

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Bryan Allen - Sami Vatanen

Jonas Hiller

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Daniel Winnik, Mark Fistric

Injured: Sheldon Souray (wrist), Stephane Robidas (leg), Tim Jackman (hand)


Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams

Kyle Clifford - Mike Richards - Trevor Lewis

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Matt Greene - Slava Voynov

Alec Martinez - Jeff Schultz

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Colin Fraser

Injured: Willie Mitchell (lower body), Robyn Regehr (upper body)

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