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Ducks hope to put last year's lesson to use

by Shawn Roarke / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- The similarities to last season's playoff run are too strong to ignore, so the Anaheim Ducks have embraced the heartbreak as a teaching tool.

The Ducks lead the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in their best-of-7 Western Conference Final heading into Game 6 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Last spring the Ducks had a 3-2 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Second Round but lost 2-1 on the road in Game 6 and then lost 6-2 at home in Game 7.

Los Angeles went on to win the Stanley Cup while Anaheim had a longer-than-expected summer of what-ifs.

Taking into account past history, the Ducks would prefer to finish the series in Game 6 and not leave things hanging in the balance for an anything-can-happen Game 7 on Saturday at Honda Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"If you go over last year's [Game 6], it was a 2-1 game that I think L.A. won," Boudreau said. "I thought we played a really good game. We played a really good road game. It should have actually been an overtime game but it wasn't.

"When two teams are playing at their best it's usually some break or bounce that is the difference in the game. Last year that was the difference. I mean, I don't think we want to play any different. We just want a different result."

The Ducks aren't shy about admitting they have thought about last year's failure for a long time.

"You think about it until training camp," Boudreau said.

Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said he thought about for longer than usual because it was against the rival Kings, as well as the lopsided nature of Game 7.

"They taught us a lesson that game," he said.

Now the Ducks' hope is that they put the lesson they learned to use.

"I think we have brought in players that are more equipped for that situation," Cogliano said. "I think Kes [center Ryan Kesler], a guy like Stoney [defenseman Clayton Stoner] and now all the guys are a year older. Even for myself, I had never been in that situation and now I'm one year better."

They are ready to prove how much better Wednesday.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Bryan Bickell - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp - Antoine Vermette - Teuvo Teravainen

Andrew Desjardins - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Duncan Keith - David Rundblad

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Kyle Cumiskey - Brent Seabrook

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Kimmo Timonen, Kris Versteeg, Daniel Carcillo, Antti Raanta, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg, Ryan Hartman, Phillip Danault

Injured: Michal Rozsival (fractured left ankle)

DUCKS

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson - Kyle Palmieri

Jiri Sekac - Rickard Rakell - Emerson Etem

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, James Wisniewski, Chris Wagner, Tomas Fleischmann, Tim Jackman, Jason LaBarbera

Injured: None

Status report: Etem is back on the fourth line after being replaced in Game 5 by Fleischmann. Etem had scored in Game 4 but was replaced by the veteran Fleischmann, who played 10:14 without registering a shot.

Who's hot: Getzlaf had two assists in Game 5 and has at least one point in each game of the series. He has seven assists in the five games and his 19 points for the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a franchise single-playoff record for the Ducks.

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