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Ducks' Kesler: 'We're going to make the playoffs'

by Abbey Mastracco /

CANUCKS (9-8-7) at DUCKS (8-11-5)


ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler remains confident his team will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This team is too good not to be in the playoffs," Kesler said. "We played deep into the playoffs last year. And to be honest maybe some guys weren't ready to start the season. We've found our game and it's coming. There's still a lot of hockey left to play and we’re ready for the challenge."

The Ducks went into their game Monday against the Vancouver Canucks five points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card in the Western Conference. But they're 7-4-3 so far in November after going 1-7-2 in October.

Getting some offense has helped. Kesler had one goal in his first 21 games but has two goals in his past three. However Corey Perry has two goals in his past seven and Ryan Getzlaf has one goal in 20 games this season. The Ducks enter the week 29th in scoring at 1.92 goals per game.

But Kesler remains confident things will turn around.

"I'm too old to worry anymore," he said. "Nothing really worries me. We're going to have fun. We're going to enjoy this challenge. And we're going to make the playoffs."

Both the Ducks and the Canucks have struggled to find consistency this season. The Ducks are four points behind the Canucks in the Pacific Division and both teams feel that they have underachieved to some degree this season. They would like to get on a roll in order to create some separation in the standings.

"I didn't see it quite this way. I thought there would be a few more wins in the division as a whole," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. "There's been some slow starts in the division that I didn't see. But I think these teams are going to get on track. You've got to get on track and kind of gain momentum as you go."

Ducks goalie John Gibson will make his third straight start Monday. Goalie Frederik Andersen practiced but still is recovering from the flu.

"He was pretty sick for about six days there," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's feeling a little bit stronger but he's not 100 percent. The more practice time he can get in and the longer he can stay out there, the faster he's going to get back and get better."

Desjardins would not name a starting goalie but Ryan Miller was the first goaltender off the ice after the Canucks' optional morning skate.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Jake Virtanen - Bo Horvat - Alexandre Burrows

Chris Higgins - Jared McCann - Radim Vrbata

Brandon Prust - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Luca Sbisa - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Brandon Sutter (undisclosed), Ben Hutton (lower-body)

Scratched: Sven Baertschi, Jared McCann, Andrey Pedan


Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Nick Ritchie - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Carl Hagelin - Shawn Horcoff - Andrew Cogliano

Patrick Maroon - Mike Santorelli - Chris Stewart

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Sami Vatanen - Clayton Stoner

John Gibson

Anton Khudobin

Injured: Nate Thompson (shoulder), Jiri Sekac (ankle), Simon Despres (concussion symptoms)

Scratched: Shea Theodore, Frederik Andersen

Status Report: Anaheim recalled Theodore from San Diego of the American Hockey League and Thompson returned from a conditioning assignment with San Diego on Sunday. Theodore is considered Anaheim's top defense prospect. He had been called up for a two-day stint Nov. 17-18, but has yet to appear in an NHL game. … Sekac practiced for the first time Monday since getting hurt Nov. 1. He said he is getting closer to returning but has not yet been cleared for contact drills. … Pedan has been with the Canucks since Nov. 23 but is expected to sit out his third straight game.

Who's Hot: The Sedins have combined for 12 goals and 30 points in the past nine games. Daniel has points in seven straight games, and Henrik has points in his past six games. … Getzlaf has 35 points in 39 games against the Canucks. Perry has 14 goals and 34 points in 38 games.

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