ANAHEIM - Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry sounded ready to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) while center Rickard Rakell missed practice with illness Saturday.
Perry’s status has been of primary interest after he sustained a scary looking right leg injury in Game 5 of the second round in a collision with Matt Stajan of the Calgary Flames. Perry skated for the second straight day and reported progress.
"I feel great," Perry said. "I feel fine on the ice, and everything went well the last couple of days, so I’ve got no issues."
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said Rakell was “feeling under the weather” and held him out.
"What we’ve done all year [is] if you’re not feeling well, we don’t want you out with the rest of the guys, so we told him to go home," Boudreau said. "He’s young enough and strong enough that [if] he’s feeling well today he’ll be in the lineup [Sunday]."
If Rakell can’t play, Anaheim can fill in with centers Chris Wagner and Tomas Fleischmann. Boudreau opened the possibility of changing his fourth line on Friday, which could mean left wing Jiri Sekac or right wing Emerson Etem return to the lineup. Right wing Tim Jackman skated as an extra on the third line, typically a sign that a player will be scratched.
Sekac has not played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and his last game was April 8. He was tight-lipped about whether he would play but sounded ready.
"Anything can change, but hopefully I’m get my chance this time, and I’m looking forward to it," Sekac said.
Sekac said it wouldn't be difficult to adjust after the long layoff.
"It’s nothing easy, but I’ve played over 70 games during the regular season, so I don’t think I forgot how to play," Sekac said. "I’m going to get into it very quick."
It would make sense for Anaheim to tap into Sekac’s speed against a skating team like Chicago. Sekac came to the Ducks from the Montreal Canadiens in a trade on Feb. 24 for left wing Devante Smith-Pelly and showed bursts of speed in his 19 games with Anaheim.
"I think that’s why coaches plan on putting me in," Sekac said. "I think we’re going to need more speed than the previous series. I think I can bring that into the games."
Asked if he’s been told if he’s in, Sekac said, "I’ve been told our team’s going to need my speed, so I’m just going to try to prove it on the ice."