Updates on Foster, Ryan, Macenauer; plan for tomorrow.

Kurtis Foster will have a procedure later
today at UCI Medical Center to remove a piece of wire from his left
thigh, the Ducks announced Monday, and the defenseman is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Foster hasn’t been taking part in drills since training camp opened Saturday.

A team spokesperson said the wire was placed in Foster’s left leg during surgery that took place
to repair a fracture in March
2008. The wire was causing inflammation/irritation, and therefore will
be removed.

A two to four week timetable projects to Oct. 3 at the earliest and Oct. 17 at the latest. The Ducks play a preseason game in Helsinki on Oct. 4 and do not play in North America again until Oct. 14, a home game against San Jose. Foster’s availability for the Europe trip seems to be in jeopardy, which would open a door for the other defensemen bidding for an opening-day roster spot.

Some more injury updates:
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Report: Most game-day social media dispatches banned.

According to ESPN.com, the NHL has enacted a social media policy that will prohibit most posts by players, coaches, trainers and management on game days.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of a game, and ending after post-game media obligations, the aforementioned NHL employees won’t be allowed to post on social media websites. Nor can they use another person to post messages to their social media accounts.

Several Ducks players have popular Twitter accounts: Bobby Ryan, Matt Beleskey, George Parros, Cam Fowler, Andrew Gordon, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Emerson Etem.

The NHL is relatively late in restricting social media use by its personnel. Two years ago, the NFL instituted a policy similar in scope — blacking out social media statements less than 90 minutes before kickoff up until post-game media obligations commence. The NBA’s initial policy, also enacted in 2009, was almost identical.

Enacted in May, Major League Baseball’s policy (which you can download here) seems more focused on restricting the content of social media dispatches, rather than their time of day.

Incidentally, Parros endorsed a social-media-use restriction on his own earlier today.

Nashville 4, Ducks 3.

Playing without Bobby Ryan due to a league-imposed suspension, and without their best defensive game plan for reasons unknown, the Ducks needed to steal one to win Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Sunday in Nashville.

Despite trailing 2-0 late in the second period, and 3-2 early in the third, they nearly did.

Mike Fisher’s goal at 10:21 of the third period held up as the game-winner, and the Predators’ 4-3 victory put the Ducks in a 2-1 hole in the best-of-seven series.

Teemu Selanne scored goals 30 seconds apart late in the second period to erase the 2-0 deficit. With the Ducks trailing 3-2 early in the third period, Matt Beleskey re-directed a Saku Koivu shot past Pekka Rinne (13 saves) to tie the game again.

It was nearly enough for the Ducks to pull out the road win despite being outshot 37-16 and despite the absence of Ryan, who was suspended for Games 3 and 4 of the series for stepping on Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum.

Ray Emery (33 saves) held his weight against the barrage of shots, but some defensive-zone lapses by the Ducks did him in — Martin Erat took advantage of a poor clearing attempt by Lubomir Visnovsky on the game’s first goal; Ryan Getzlaf mishandled the puck just before Jordin Tootoo put it in the Ducks’ net; David Legwand and Fisher snuck behind the defense to score the Preds’ final two goals on Emery’s back door.

A few more notes and observations:
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Bobby Ryan suspended two games for foot stomp. (Photo)

The NHL has scheduled a disciplinary hearing with Ducks forward Bobby Ryan for 2 p.m. He faces possible discipline for stomping on the foot of Nashville Predators defenseman (and Long Beach native) Jonathon Blum with 3:30 left in the third period of the Ducks’ 5-3 win Friday night in Game 2.

3:02 p.m. update: Ryan was suspended two games by the league Saturday afternoon, meaning he will miss Games 3 and 4 and be eligible to return for Game 5 in Anaheim next Friday.

“The actions by Ryan were both reckless and dangerous,” NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. “While it was fortunate there was no injury to Blum on the play, the act of using your skate in this manner is unacceptable.”
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Ducks 3, Kings 1.

The roller-coaster ride is over. Now the fun begins.

The Ducks couldn’t be happier about their position after 82 games — fourth place in the Western Conference, and guaranteed home-ice advantage for the first round — thanks to their win and losses by the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators earlier in the day.

The end result is that the Ducks will either host the Chicago Blackhawks or the Predators in the first round beginning no earlier than Wednesday.

“We found a way to get ourselves into a good position from thinking about where we were a couple months ago,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “You’ve got to credit our players; they’re the ones who put it out on the line night in and night out. It’s about a team that’s trying to work its way through all the hurdles that it’s been presented and now we have an opportunity to play at home.”

Here’s what the roller coaster looked like: The Ducks sat in third place in the West on Feb. 13. They fell as low as 11th and were there as late as March 8. They rejoined the top 8 on March 20 and did not leave. They began the day Saturday in seventh place and had risen to fourth by the end. Along the way there were subplots galore — skill, luck, 50 goals, 40-year-olds, vertigo — and it’s been fascinating to watch it all unfold.

The playoff scenarios are simple. If Chicago beats the Detroit Red Wings Sunday, the Ducks will play the Blackhawks. If Chicago loses, the Ducks play the Predators. That and more in tomorrow’s editions.

Here are a few more notes:
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Ducks 5, Calgary 4, OT.

Teemu Selanne can’t remember being part of a team that pulled out as many late wins as this group of Ducks. And if it hasn’t happened to the 40-year-old right wing, then it probably hasn’t happened here before.

The Ducks’ 5-4 overtime win over the Calgary Flames was their second OT win in as many days and their fourth this month. Most importantly, it allowed the Ducks to reach eighth place in the Western Conference and dropped the Flames to 10th.

One night after Corey Perry scored off a clean snipe in overtime to beat the Kings, it was Perry again who got credit for deflecting Toni Lymdan’s slapshot at 2:38 of overtime to beat Calgary. Perry became the first player in franchise history to score overtime goals in consecutive games, and gave Anaheim overtime wins in back-to-back games for just the third time ever. Two have come in the last month.

What does it all mean?

“It just says that we have fight left in us at the end of the game, and we don’t just roll over,” Perry said. “There’s always a chance for us.”

The Ducks squandered an early 3-0 lead when Jarome Iginla’s power-play goal at 7:10 of the third period put Calgary ahead 4-3. But Selanne’s re-direction of a Ryan Getzlaf shot tied the game at 4 with 2:01 left in the third period.

“I’d like to see that we don’t put ourselves in that situation that many times,” Selanne said, “but it doesn’t really matter how you win the games, you need those two points. … Every point is so critical right now. It’s unbelievable how tight it is.”

And therein lies the value of the Ducks’ ability to bounce back. On Sunday the Predators needed overtime to beat Buffalo, while the Blackhawks got a goal in the final seven minutes to beat the Coyotes. On Saturday, seven of the 10 games were either decided by one goal, or two including empty-netters.

So unless your opponent is already looking to next year, it’s unreasonable to expect to win big in the NHL — or simply to believe that a 3-0 lead gained six minutes into a game will stand. Calmness under pressure is a virtue.

The Ducks remained calm even after Bobby Ryan couldn’t convert a penalty-shot attempt 2:34 into the overtime period, when he was tripped en route to the net by Calgary defenseman Steve Staios. It was Ryan’s second overtime penalty-shot attempt this month; he converted the first to beat Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings on March 2.

“Penalty shots are funny. Everybody thinks it’s either make or break, but it’s only one play in the game,” Getzlaf said. “It’s definitely an emotional play, but it’s one of those situations where we knew what we had to do.”

Getzlaf took the ensuing faceoff draw and won it by kicking the puck (literally, with his skate) out to Lydman for the game-winning slapshot.

Some more notes/observations:
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So far, no dj vu for Ducks.

On the eve of today’s game in Denver, with about a month to go in the regular season, the Ducks are in a roughly similar position to a year ago.

The 2009-10 team started slowly, climbed up to ninth place in the standings in February, and were three points out of eighth place by March 1. This year’s group started slowly, climbed as high as third in February, and were three points out of eighth place by March 1. The Ducks could be sitting in eighth place again tonight if they beat the Avalanche. (Of course, so could the Stars, Kings or Wild, depending on how things go.)
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Ducks 5, Rangers 2.

After Lubomir Visnovsky had completed his second career hat trick last Friday, a reporter asked Randy Carlyle about getting that kind of contribution from a player who wasn’t one of the team’s “big guys.”

Maybe a game like Wednesday’s will dispel any doubts about Visnovsky’s stature.

Visnovsky is now tied for the NHL lead in points by a defenseman (54) after his three-point game against the Rangers. Visnovsky and Corey Perry both had two goals and an assist, and Bobby Ryan scored a goal and collected three assists what became a one-sided contest.

“We all have become accustomed to his level of skill when he does shoot the puck,” Carlyle said of Visnovsky. “He shoots it extremely accurately and hard. He gets to play
with a pretty dependable partner in Toni Lydman, who doesn’t really join the rush. That gives him freedom.”

Dan Ellis allowed a 1-on-1 goal to Brandon Dubinsky on the Rangers’ first shot of the game, but regrouped in time to stop 30 of 32. Lydman, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu – seeing his first action after missing the last six games with a groin injury – all had an assist.

As Bobby Ryan said, in what may only have been a slight overstatement – to take nothing away from Ray Emery’s door-opening skills – “Twenty guys contributed tonight.”

Notes and observations:
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Ducks 2, Detroit 1, OT.

Bobby Ryan’s overtime penalty-shot goal — the first OT goal and penalty-shot attempt of his NHL career — lifted the Ducks to a much-needed win. It also lifted the crowd of 15,098 at Honda Center, which might not see another game this good until the playoffs.

Other than Ryan’s goal, defense and goaltending were the story Wednesday. Dan Ellis (28 saves) and Jimmy Howard (26) put on quite a show.

So did the Anaheim penalty-killers, who allowed one goal (and just five shots on net) in nine power-play shifts for the Wings. That included a 1:33 stretch of 5-on-3 play in the first period, and a 1:47 stretch of 4-on-3 play to begin overtime.

Todd Marchant (17:48, 16-10 on faceoffs, three hits) did the yeoman’s work. His ice time probably was going to increase after Saku Koivu (groin) ruled himself out of a fourth straight game. Then the Ducks kept taking penalties, his teammates started struggling in the faceoff circle, and all of a sudden the savvy veteran had to pull more than his own weight in a playoff-type atmosphere.

Jason Blake also scored for the Ducks, on a rising 37-foot slapshot early in the third period that Howard probably didn’t see. Ryan’s goal was his 30th, giving him 30 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons. The Ducks couldn’t have picked anyone better to take the penalty shot, as Ryan went to his trusty forehand to beat Howard glove-side.

“Bobby Ryan is a great player and has a great set of hands on him,” Howard said. “It was a good deke. He capitalized on it.”

More notes in tomorrow’s editions. A few notes that won’t make the paper:
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Ducks 3, Avalanche 2.

One second remained on the clock in a 3-2 game, a perfect time for divine intervention.

“All of a sudden the puck came out of nowhere and hit me on the side of the head,” Ducks goalie Dan Ellis said. “I heard it hit a post. I was just praying that it hit the right post. Thank God it stayed out.”

Indeed, in a game the Ducks had to win, Milan Hejduk’s late shot off the post might have been the turning point. Should Anaheim reach the playoffs, it will be a moment to remember. So too will Todd Marchant’s first goal of the season, Brandon McMillan’s game-winner, and Erik Johnson’s bone-headed giveaway that led to Ryan Getzlaf’s goal in the first period.

Often, the rest wasn’t pretty. Ellis finished with 22 saves but he was outplayed by his counterpart for the second time in as many games as a Duck. Peter Budaj made 11 of his 29 saves on the power play and could hardly be blamed for the Avs’ 13th loss in their last 14 games.

The Ducks snapped a five-game losing streak and won for the first time without injured goalie Jonas Hiller since Curtis McElhinney backstopped a 5-4 overtime win in Calgary. They remained one point behind the 72-point cutoff for the eighth and final playoff spot.

With the Ducks on the power play at 11:23 of the third period, McMillan broke a 2-2 tie, scoring on a putback after Budaj came out aggressively after allowing a rebound to the right of the net.

The rookie center was only out on the power play because Saku Koivu missed his third straight game with a groin injury. Yet he, Bobby Ryan and Jason Blake (and defensemen Luca Sbisa and Francois Beauchemin) turned it into a minute-long cycle play that wore down the Colorado PK with Brandon Yip serving a double-minor for high-sticking Beauchemin.

Considering the Ducks were outshot 23-19 at even strength –and only had one power-play goal to show for their previous six games –it was a badly needed goal.

“We found a way to score a big power play goal to win us the hockey game,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is what you have to do. You have to find ways to get points at this time of the year. Hopefully this is a springboard for our hockey club to get back to playing the way we are quite capable of playing.”

Marchant’s goal ended a streak of 70 games without a goal. The goal, the 186th of his career, came at the end of a give-and-go with Sbisa. The defenseman jumped up in the rush and backhanded the puck to Marchant, streaking down the slot; Marchant needed only get a sliver of stick on the puck to re-direct it past Budaj.

“It’s certainly the longest drought of my career,” Marchant said. “I’m not sure what it was prior to this, but it wasn’t anywhere near this. I didn’t let it get me down mentally. I know I’ve got many other roles on this team besides scoring goals. The bottom line is it’s about wins this time of the year. It’s not about how many goals or assists I get. It’s about winning hockey games, getting into the playoffs and see how far it takes you.”

A few more notes:
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