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Ducks recognize opportunity before them in Game 6

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks do not want history to repeat itself heading into Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series Sunday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and are eager for the opportunity to advance to the second round.

"When you can close a game out, it's something you want to take advantage of, but we know how difficult it's going to be," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "They're not just going to let us take it. They have a lot of pride and they're going to play a great game in front of their home crowd, so we need to be ready for that challenge."

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is tied for third in the NHL with seven points (four assists) in the playoffs, doesn't want to see the Ducks lose Game 6 like they did in the first round of the 2013 playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks then lost Game 7 at Honda Center and were eliminated.

"I think we learned that when there's opportunities in front of you, you've gotta take them, otherwise teams will," Getzlaf said. "Like last year, we had Detroit in a position where we had a chance to win and we didn't take advantage of it. I thought our guys did a great job this year, at different points throughout the year, where we had chances to meet milestones and win these. We really embraced those opportunities."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is making one change to his lineup, likely bringing left wing Matt Beleskey, who has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, back onto his fourth line at right wing alongside left wing Devante Smith-Pelly and center Rickard Rakell.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will start for the Ducks.

One thing Boudreau wants to see more of is the Ducks' continued prowess in killing penalties. Anaheim has killed off 18 straight Dallas power plays dating back to Game 2.

"We've just got to stay out of the box. If we could manage to keep it down to two or three penalties a game that would be really beneficial to us, I think," Boudreau said.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is making one change to his lineup. Veteran left wing Erik Cole figures to return to the Stars' fourth line alongside center Chris Mueller and right wing Valeri Nichushkin. If Cole, a healthy scratch the past four games, returns for Game 6, then left wing Ray Whitney is a likely scratch.

"Yeah, it'll be nice to get back in the lineup and hopefully be able to contribute," Cole said.

Ruff however, wouldn't commit to whether or not Cole would return.

"I'm not going to discuss whether he's in or out," Ruff said. "If he's in, I need him to play hard."

Dallas could also get injured rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who missed Game 5 with an upper-body injury, back for Game 6. Nemeth left the ice first after morning skate while defensemen Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome remained on the ice.

"We got a couple guys (nursing injuries), so we're going to dress some extra guys for warm-up and see and he's one of them," Ruff said of Nemeth.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen will again start for Dallas.

If the Stars are to force Game 7 on Tuesday in Anaheim, they need to get their power play, which is 2-for-24 in the series, revved up a bit.

"It's going to take a little more patience on our part. When we do get set up we've got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net, getting traffic to the net and overloading," Stars center Shawn Horcoff said. "That's what they were able to do against us the last game and got some goals off it. It's a big part of the game and for us to win the series it's going to be important for us to get that going."

Here are the projected lineups:


Nick BoninoRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuJakob Silfverberg

Patrick MaroonMathieu PerreaultTeemu Selanne

Devante Smith-PellyRickard RakellMatt Beleskey

Luca SbisaFrancois Beauchemin

Cam FowlerBen Lovejoy

Bryan AllenMark Fistric

Frederik Andersen

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnik.

Injured: Tim Jackman (hand), Hampus Lindholm (neck), Stephane Robidas (leg fracture)


Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlex Chiasson

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Erik ColeChris MuellerValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Brenden Dillon

Patrik NemethSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Tim Thomas

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Aaron Rome, Ray Whitney

Injured: Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)

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