Ducks, Hawks fighting to stay in West's top eight
DUCKS (41-28-5) at BLACKHAWKS (40-25-8)
TV -- FS-West (HD), CSN-Chicago (HD)
Last 10 --
Anaheim 7-3-0; Chicago 6-2-2
Season series --
This will be the fourth and final time the teams will meet this season. The Blackhawks have won two of the three meetings, but the Ducks scored a 2-1 victory in their most recent game, Jan. 2, when goalie Jonas Hiller made 39 saves at Honda Center. Anaheim has gone 15-5-3 in 23 games against Chicago since the start of the 2005-06 season.
Big story --
Both teams are in desperate need of victories to stay in the Western Conference's top eight. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, winners of three of their last four, are seventh in the West with 40 wins and 88 points through 73 games. At this same point in 2009-10, Chicago had 46 victories and 99 points and stood second in the conference.
Anaheim, winner of three of its last four and nine of the last 12, is eighth in the West with 41 wins and 87 points -- one behind Chicago.
After rallying for a 4-3 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, the Ducks came up short Thursday despite a three-goal third period in a 5-4 loss to Nashville. Goalie Jonas Hiller made his first start since Feb. 13 and played in just his second game since Feb. 2 due to symptoms of dizziness related to vertigo, but was pulled 11:37 into the game after allowing three goals on nine shots. Meanwhile, goalie Ray Emery made 23 saves against Dallas to earn his third win in as many starts with the Ducks after signing with the team Feb. 7. Emery has allowed just five goals in his three starts.
Chicago scored a 4-0 victory against Florida on Wednesday behind Corey Crawford
's 23 saves. Brent Seabrook
, Viktor Stalberg
, Tomas Kopecky
and Patrick Kane
scored goals and Jonathan Toews
and Duncan Keith
had 2 assists apiece for Chicago, which scored three times in the third period. Crawford's shutout was his fourth this season.
Who's hot --
Anaheim right wing Corey Perry, who has 11 goals and 15 points in the past eight games, became the first player in Ducks history to score overtime goals in consecutive games when he did it against Los Angeles last Saturday and Calgary on Sunday. … Toews' 2 assists against Florida on Wednesday gave him a personal-best 44 this season.
Injury report --
With the return of Hiller, there are no significant injuries to report from Anaheim. … Chicago is without Patrick Sharp
(left knee), Dave Bolland
(concussion) and Jordan Hendry
(torn left ACL).
Stat pack --
Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne has moved past Pierre Turgeon and into 30th place on the all-time NHL scoring list with 1,330 points in 1,251 games. He's five points behind Mike Gartner (1,335). Selanne also is tied with Marcel Dionne for sixth on the League's all-time list in power-play goals (234). The 40-year-old Finn, whose average of 1.08 points per game this season is the 10th-highest in the NHL, has 5 goals and 13 points in the last 11 games.
Puck drop --
"It's tough on Hillsy (Hiller)," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said following Thursday's loss to Nashville. "He battled with that head thing for so long. Obviously he thought he was ready to come back, and a couple of quick bounces. ... You can't really blame him for it. It's a matter of us not tying up sticks and stuff for second shots."