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Ducks get center Thompson back for series opener

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks center Nate Thompson will play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Calgary Flames on Thursday at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Thompson missed the first round with an upper-body injury sustained in the regular-season finale. His return restores stability to the fourth line after Anaheim used center Chris Wagner and left wing Tomas Fleischmann in his place.

"He's a vital guy to our team, and he's been a vital guy for the whole year," Boudreau said. "I think he played every game. It's just natural that he would go back in."

Thompson led the Ducks in hits (204), was second in faceoff win percentage (52.7) and third among Anaheim forwards in blocked shots (52) in the regular season. He will play with left wing Emerson Etem and right wing Tim Jackman in his first Stanley Cup Playoff game with Anaheim.

"I'm excited," Thompson said. "To be able to get in there with the guys and contribute and do my job and do all of the little things I'm supposed to do, which are important in playoff time.

"I'm champing at the bit. Like I said, it's tough to watch. But … my legs will be moving. I can tell you that."

Jackman will face his former team. He played against Calgary in the regular season but a best-of-7 series is different. Jackman said teammates have asked him some questions about Calgary, but most have scouted the Flames on television.

"I enjoyed my time there," Jackman said. "The coaching staff was great. They helped me learn the game and do certain things; paying attention to the little details of the game. I had some good friendships over there. It's going to be fun. I wish them the best. It's going to be a good series."

Calgary has lost 20 straight games in Anaheim, including the playoffs. Jackman has experienced both sides of it and is glad he's on the winning end.

"I hope that trend continues," Jackman said.

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne

Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Brandon Bollig - Josh Jooris- Drew Shore

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland

Tyler Wotherspoon - David Schlemko

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Mason Raymond, Corey Potter, Markus Granlund, David Wolf\

Injured: Ladislav Smid (upper body), Mark Giordano (bicep), Paul Byron (lower body), Raphael Diaz (lower body), Lance Bouma (upper body)


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Kyle Palmieri

Emerson Etem - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Sami Vatanen - Clayton Stoner

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Scratched: James Wisniewski, Korbinian Holzer, Tomas Fleischmann, Jiri Sekac

Injured: Chris Wagner (upper body)

Status report: Wisniewski continues to skate with Holzer in the extra defensive pairing and has yet to play in the playoffs.

Who's hot: Kesler has three goals and one assist in his past two games. Silfverberg has one goal and four assists in his past two games.

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