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Banged-up Ducks aim for good start in Game 5 against Oilers

Want to perform better at home after tying series with two road wins

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks returned to Southern California on Thursday in much better position in the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers than when they left, but their injury list has some new names on it.

After losing the first two games at home last week, the Ducks won Games 3 and 4 in Edmonton to even the best-of-7 series 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Honda Center on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"Having to go up there and bring the series back here even is a tall task," coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's now our serve, and when it's your turn to serve, you have to hold your serve. What we have to do is just continue along the lines of, if we can play a better game than we played the previous game, we'll give ourselves a chance for success."

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Oilers series coverage]

 

Anaheim played Game 4 without top-line forward Patrick Eaves after he sustained a lower-body injury in Game 3. His replacement, rookie Ondrej Kase, left the game after sustaining a lower-body injury during the first period when he was cross-checked by Milan Lucic.

Defensemen Kevin Bieksa has missed the past games with a lower-body injury sustained in Game 1.

"All three are day to day," Carlyle said.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm4: Rakell finishes Getzlaf's nice dish

In addition to the injuries, Carlyle's other concern is how the Ducks start Game 5 after they were outshot 16-10 and outscored 2-0 in the first period in Game 4.

"We cannot afford to have the first period of last night's game enter any one of these next three periods of hockey, or four periods of hockey," he said.

Even though the Ducks lost the first two games of the series here, they were 29-8-4 at Honda Center during the regular season for the most points earned at home in the Western Conference.

Defenseman Cam Fowler said it's important the Ducks don't take their previous home-ice success for granted.

"It's important to know you have to be mentally and physically ready to play every night, even when you're at home and you feel comfortable and obviously playing in front of your home fans," Fowler said. "At the end of the day, you still have to come out and perform. Fans will give you a big energy boost, of course, but you still have to go out and execute, and that's definitely something we've learned along the way. You have to play with the same desperation, same mentality, that you would on the road."

Forward Rickard Rakell echoed Fowler, saying he and his teammates need to treat every remaining shift as if it's a Game 7.

"It was tough for us when we lost our first two games," he said. "We feel a little bit better now, but. ... [the Oilers] are probably going to feel the same as when [the series] was 0-0. They have nothing to lose."

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