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Preview: Rangers at Ducks

Henrik Lundqvist in lineup for New York; Anaheim can take over sole possession of first in Pacific

by Dan Arritt / Correspondent

RANGERS (46-25-4) at DUCKS (40-23-11)


Rangers team scope

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to return after missing the past eight games with a hip injury for the New York Rangers, who can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh consecutive season with a victory. New York holds the first wild card from the Eastern Conference, 12 points ahead of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card and 14 points in front of the New York Islanders. Lundqvist is 15-7-0 on the road this season with a .928 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against average. "You can't expect to feel perfect right away," Lundqvist said. "You have to work yourself into feeling good by focusing on all the little things." The Rangers were 3-for-3 in penalty kills in a 3-0 victory at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday after having allowed at least one power-play goal in each of the previous eight games. "Hopefully, we can build on that from here," said defenseman Dan Girardi, who returned after missing the previous 12 games with an ankle injury. A win at would give the Rangers 28 road victories this season and tie the franchise record set in 2014-15.


Ducks team scope

The Anaheim Ducks would regain sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division for the first time since Jan. 23 and establish a season-long winning streak of four games with a point. The Ducks were nine points behind the San Jose Sharks on March 15 and are 4-0-1 since. The Sharks have lost six in a row (0-6-0). "We want to play well going down the stretch and you want to peak at the right time," forward Corey Perry said. "Everybody is starting to find their groove." Jonathan Bernier is expected to start his seventh straight game and 13th in the past 14 in place of John Gibson. Bernier is 9-2-1 with a .940 save percentage in his past 12 starts. Bernier started 15 of the first 61 games this season before Gibson sustained a lower-body injury. "The more you play, the better you feel," Bernier said. "The confidence just builds with every game." Anaheim is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games at Honda Center and 15-4-2 since Jan. 1.


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Pavel Buchnevich -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri, Adam Clendening, Tanner Glass, Brendan Smith

Injured: None


Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Patrick Eaves

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie -- Antoine Vermette -- Corey Perry

Logan Shaw -- Nate Thompson -- Chris Wagner

Cam Fowler -- Brandon Montour

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Korbinian Holzer -- Sami Vatanen

Jonathan Bernier

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Jared Boll, Kevin Bieksa, John Gibson

Injured: Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery), Simon Despres (concussion)

Status report

Klein is expected to return to the lineup after missing the past 16 games with a back injury. ... Bieksa missed his first game of the season Friday after taking a high stick to his mouth against the Edmonton Oilers two days earlier and will be a game-time decision. ... Montour and Holzer were in the lineup together Friday for the first time since Dec. 30 and helped limit the Jets to 18 shots on goal, their lowest total taking 18 against the Rangers on Dec. 8.


Who's hot

Stepan has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past eight games. ... Nash has a goal in three straight games. ... Zuccarello has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games. ... Getzlaf has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in the past 11 games. ... Rakell has eight points (five goals, three assists) in the past seven games.

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