AVALANCHE (35-30-12) at DUCKS (50-22-7)
TV: SN1, ALT, PRIME
ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks right wing Stefan Noesen was understandably beaming when reporters approached him Friday about being recalled from the American Hockey League before Anaheim played the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center.
Noesen's career has been set back by two serious injuries: a torn ACL in his left knee in October 2013 and an Achilles injury when he was cut by an opponent's skate blade in October 2014.
"It's been a long road," Noesen said. "When I got the phone call, I was very, very happy, as you can imagine."
Just to be with an NHL team is accomplishment enough, but Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said that in all likelihood Noesen will make his NHL debut.
Boudreau said it was a reward for Noesen and a need because left wing Patrick Maroon is ill and left wing Matt Beleskey and right wing Tim Jackman each has a lower-body injury.
"He's here because of the work he put in the past two years," Boudreau said. "To go through those two devastating injuries and still play really well down there [with the Norfolk Admirals] … he deserved an opportunity. There are guys that we have [with] tweaks and bruised up, and this was a good time for him to come up."
Noesen, 22, came to Anaheim with right wing Jakob Silfverberg and a first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft from the Ottawa Senators in the July 5, 2013 trade for right wing Bobby Ryan. But the injuries have limited to him 25 games in the AHL since the 2012-13 season.
Noesen, a power-forward type at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, watched other young forwards move up in the organization but said he didn't feel forgotten.
"I guess you could see how that could be a factor, but at the end of the road you have to look forward," Noesen said. "You have to look into what's best for you, what's going to happen with you and just make yourself in the best position to be able to get up here, and that's what I felt like I accomplished."
Noesen skated on a line with center Chris Wagner and left wing Emerson Etem.
The Ducks, who clinched their third straight Pacific Division title Wednesday, are four points ahead of the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference and lead the race for the Presidents' Trophy. Their final three games are against teams outside of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Colorado will be eliminated from the playoff picture with a regulation loss, but Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was reluctant to talk about it.
"It would be almost sad to hear a coach talking about next year before making sure that it's over," Roy said. "To me, it's not over. I know it doesn't look good, but I think it would send the wrong message if I was thinking about next year."
One curiosity down the stretch is right wing Jordan Caron, who has no points since he came to Colorado at the NHL Trade Deadline.
"It's hard for fourth-line guys to put [up] numbers," Roy said. "But I will say this, he works really hard for us. He brings exactly what we expect from him. He's adding size and decent speed, and he's had his chances … you can tell he's maybe losing a bit of his confidence. We just hope for him that he can find that back and get it going here until the end of the year."
Roy said the lineup will be the same; the Avalanche don't have many options because of injuries.
Here are the projected lineups:
John Mitchell - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Alex Tanguay
Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Dennis Everberg
Jordan Caron - Freddie Hamilton - Joey Hishon
Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie
Jan Hejda - Zach Redmond
Brad Stuart - Nick Holden
Injured: Nathan MacKinnon (foot), Daniel Briere (foot), Jesse Winchester (head), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Erik Johnson (knee), Jamie McGinn (back), Borna Rendulic (leg), Patrick Bordeleau (knee)
Jiri Sekac - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Tomas Fleischmann - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson - Jakob Silfverberg
Emerson Etem - Chris Wagner - Stefan Noesen
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler - Sami Vatanen
James Wisniewski - Simon Despres
Scratched: Rickard Rakell, Korbinian Holzer
Injured: Tim Jackman (lower body), Clayton Stoner (lower body), Matt Beleskey (lower body), Patrick Maroon (illness)
Status report: Berra was off the ice first and Roy confirmed Varlamov will play Saturday at the Los Angeles Kings. … Gibson was off the ice first. … Stoner and Jackman are skating but aren't yet available, Boudreau said.
Who's hot: O'Reilly has five goals and eight assists in his past nine games. … Perry has five goals in his past seven games. Silfverberg had a career-high three-assist game Wednesday.