Ducks notes, quotes and lineup ahead of Tuesday’s game against San Jose

The Ducks went back to work Tuesday at Honda Center, skating together for the first time since suffering a 2-1 overtime loss last Thursday to the Ottawa Senators in the last game of a six-game cross-continent trip that took them to the Christmas break.

The biggest topic for discussion before the third-place Ducks (17-12-6) faced the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks (21-12-1) was hitting the re-set button on a season that’s featured wildly inconsistent play over the first 35 games. The midway point in the 82-game regular season is right around the corner and time for improvement is at hand.

“After a three- or four-day break with family and friends we should all be refreshed and looking forward to getting this thing going again against an obviously great opponent and a big rival of ours to start out here,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said.

What needs to change for the rest of the season?



“There shouldn’t be any confusion, any question marks about what is expected in certain situations,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “That’s been our message. It was our message before we left for the break and it’s our message again when they came back this morning, that we’re going to hold them accountable to that.”

The Ducks’ lineup (see below) looked pretty much the same as before the break, with Rickard Rakell back at left wing on a line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry. Carlyle broke them up in order to get Rakell moving better during the loss to the Senators.

Carlyle also said Tuesday he likes Rakell on left wing, but that eventually he’d prefer to have the 23-year-old Swede at center. Rakell’s scalding start to the season was aided in part because he was playing with Getzlaf and Perry. Rakell had 14 goals and 21 points in 24 games before the break.

Here are the Ducks’ lines, pairs and expected starting goalie.










The Sharks skated in San Jose at their practice facility and then flew south.

Tommy Wingels isn’t expected to play, but Michael Haley is.

Ducks stat of the day … or why it’s almost mandatory to score first in Game 7 against the Predators


This tidbit is lifted directly from my story Wednesday: The team that scores first in Game 7s has a staggering .741 winning percentage (120-42) in playoff history. The Ducks are 2-0 in Game 7s when scoring first and 0-5 when they don’t.

Here’s the link to my Game 7 advance:

Preview: Ducks vs. Jets


Faceoff: 7 p.m.

TV/Radio: NHLN / 830-AM

Update: Defenseman Simon Despres skated with his teammates Monday and said he was ready to return to the Ducks’ lineup after sitting out for six games because of an upper-body injury. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau indicated after Tuesday’s morning skate that Despres would be in the lineup to face the Jets. Goaltender Frederik Andersen joined the Ducks for the skate. He’s getting closer to a return to the net after suffering a concussion during the Ducks’ victory last Wednesday over the Calgary Flames. The Ducks (44-24-10) are expected to be without Andersen, Kevin Bieksa (upper body), David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (upper body) and Rickard Rakell (appendectomy) for their regular-season home finale. The Ducks are a league-best 32-9-4 since the Christmas break. They also are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games at the Honda Center. Their overall home mark of 25-10-5 is the best in the Western Conference. The Jets are 32-39-8, last in the Central Division.

Preview: Kings at Canucks


Faceoff: 7 p.m.

TV/Radio: FSW / 790-AM

Update: The Kings (46-27-5) play the first of their final two road games of the regular season Monday at Vancouver. Then they play Tuesday at Calgary before returning to Staples Center for what looms as a potential Pacific Division championship-deciding game against the Ducks. The Kings recalled defenseman Kevin Gravel from the the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League in order to bolster their ranks for the trip. The Kings have a number of defensemen who are bruised and battered, although not too seriously. Gravel was scoreless in four games with the Kings earlier this season. He has seven goals and 20 points and a plus-4 defensive rating in 55 games for the Reign this season. A victory tonight would give the Kings a franchise record for wins in a season. The Canucks are 29-36-13, sixth in the Pacific. They were eliminated from postseason contention last month, but have consecutive wins over the playoff-bound Sharks and Ducks.

Ducks-Oilers preview


Faceoff: 6 p.m.

TV/Radio: FSW / 830-AM

Update: Ducks center Ryan Kesler is expected to rejoin the lineup after a two-game absence to attend to a family matter at home. A victory over the Edmonton Oilers (30-41-7, last in the Pacific Division) would give the Ducks (41-23-10, second in the Pacific) a 3-1-1 record on their five-game trip across Canada. The Ducks have eight regular-season games remaining and catching the first-place Kings (45-25-5) remains a possibility. The Ducks are bruised and battered, however. They rallied for a 4-3 overtime victory Saturday over the Ottawa Senators without Kesler, Kevin Bieksa (upper-body injury), Simon Despres (upper body), David Perron (shoulder) and Sami Vatanen (head) in the lineup. Chris Stewart played Saturday after a 20-game absence because of a broken jaw. Rickard Rakell scored his 20th goal Saturday, extending his career high. Patrick Maroon, a former Duck, scored twice in the Oilers’ 6-4 loss Saturday to the Kings. Maroon has skated on a line with Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle. He was with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf at times last season with the Ducks

Kings-Sharks preview


Faceoff: 7 p.m.

TV/Radio: NBCSN / 790-AM

Update: The Kings (45-25-5) ended a three-game losing streak and edged closer to their first division championship since 1991 with a 6-4 victory Saturday over the last-place Edmonton Oilers. It wasn’t as crisp and clean as left wing Milan Lucic would have liked. He said the Kings must clean up their act defensively if they hope to play at their peak level to start the playoffs. The Kings have given up 175 goals, the second-fewest in the NHL. Lucic tied a career high with three assists Saturday. He has 49 points, including 32 assists, in his first season with the Kings after a trade from the Boston Bruins. Jeff Carter scored twice against the Oilers, giving him 20 for the ninth consecutive season and the 10th in the past 11. The third-place Sharks are 41-28-6, but only 18-18-3 at home. Their latest defeat was a 4-2 loss Saturday to the Dallas Stars. The Sharks can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Kings.