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Getzlaf expected to return for Ducks against Lightning

by Corey Long / NHL.com

DUCKS (34-12-7) at LIGHTNING (33-15-5)

TV: PRIME, SUN

TAMPA – It will be best against best when the Tampa Bay Lightning play the Anaheim Ducks at Amalie Arena on Sunday.

The Lightning (33-16-5) are in a tie with the Detroit Red Wings for first place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points and the Ducks (34-12-7) lead the NHL with 75.

It will be unfamiliar territory for the Lightning. They are playing the second half of back-to-back games at home after a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

"It's a tough turnaround which is good because it doesn't necessary give us time to dwell on [Saturday]," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But the downside is that arguably the best team in the League is coming in here well rested. Usually we're the team that benefits from the back-to-backs because our opponent played the Florida Panthers the night before. This time we're at a little bit of a disadvantage."

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf should return to the ice after missing the first two games of the team's five-game road trip with a lower-body injury.

"The guys have stepped up and played really well," Getzlaf said. "I think we've had a good road trip and hopefully we can continue to play well and stay healthy. I think if I feel like I'm ready to go [Sunday] I will be on the ice."

Though Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau will be happy to have his top scorer back in the lineup, he expects the Lightning to be a dangerous opponent, especially coming off of a loss.

"They are a team that can score in bunches," Boudreau said. "Last time we were here we lost 5-1 so it can get out of hand quickly. They have a lot of guys…nine guys that have scored 10 goals or more so you can't just focus on [Steven] Stamkos."

To counter the Lightning's scoring attack, the Ducks will start goalie Frederik Andersen after giving him the night off in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday. Andersen made 44 saves in a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

"We are playing pretty well as a group," Boudreau said. "It doesn't always look pretty but we are getting the job done and we also know that we can get better. We've had some games where we lean on [Andersen] a lot and he has been up for the challenge."

Here are the projected lineups:

DUCKS

Kyle PalmieriRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

Matt BeleskeyRickard RakellDevante Smith-Pelly

Patrick MaroonNate ThompsonTim Jackman

Cam FowlerEric Brewer

Hampus LindholmFrancois Beauchemin

Clayton StonerSami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Ben Lovejoy

Injured: None

LIGHTNING

Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn- Cedric Paquette - Jonathan Drouin

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle- Brett Connolly

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov - Anton Stralman

Mark Barberio - Luke Witkowski

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: J.T. Brown

Injured: Jason Garrison (lower body), Radko Gudas (knee surgery), Matthew Carle (abdominal surgery)

Status report: Getzlaf skated in an optional practice Saturday and took part in line rushes during the morning skate Sunday but is still listed as a game-time decision. …Vasilevskiy was scheduled to start Sunday despite playing two periods Saturday after Bishop was pulled.

Who's hot: Kucherov had scored goals in the past two games. …Kelser scored a goal and had an assist in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday.

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