DUCKS AT OILERS
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
The Ducks sent right wing Chris Stewart back to Orange County on Friday to have his injured jaw examined further, according to news reports. They also recalled forward Nick Ritchie from the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League in order to take Stewart’s place on the roster. Stewart was injured during a fight with the Blue Jackets’ Dalton Prout during a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday in Columbus.
Stewart is the Ducks’ seventh-leading scorer with 18 points, including eight goals. The 20-year-old Ritchie made his NHL debut Nov. 16. He had one assist in 11 games with the Ducks. He also has 15 goals and 28 points in 33 games with the Ducks this season.
Key play: Chris Stewart scored the tiebreaking goal 15:49 into the second period and the Ducks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Sunday at the Honda Center. Stewart skated into the slot, accepted a centering pass from teammate Nate Thompson and redirected it past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for his fifth goal of the season..
Pivotal performer: Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 23 saves for his fourth victory in seven appearances since he was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League. He was razor sharp after giving up a goal to Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta only 3:02 into the game. Gibson is 4-2-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts since his recall from San Diego of the AHL on Nov. 24.
Between the pipes: Gibson, a Pittsburgh native, started for the sixth consecutive game for the Ducks. Frederik Andersen, who was sidelined by an illness, served as his backup. Fleury started for the Penguins after he was in goal for a 5-3 loss Saturday to the Kings. Fleury made 23 saves.
Quote, unquote: “They’re building blocks,” Ducks center Ryan Kesler said of the past two victories, which includes a 1-0 win Friday over the San Jose Sharks. “We’ve been playing well for a while now. To finally string some wins together feels good.”
Coach’s challenge: An apparent power-play goal for Ducks left wing Rickard Rakell in the first period was washed out by a coach’s challenge. It was determined by video replay that Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen failed to keep the puck in the zone and offside should have been called.
Key play: Chris Stewart scored the go-ahead goal in a shootout and Frederik Andersen saved Jonathan Huberdeau’s final try as the Ducks rallied for a 3-2 victory Wednesday over the Florida Panthers at the Honda Center. Jakob Silfverberg also scored in the shootout, improving to an NHL-best 16 for 25 in his career.
Pivotal performer: Right wing Corey Perry scored his first goal of the season, a game-tying power-play strike off a rebound with 5.1 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Ducks force the contest to overtime tied at 2-all.
Injury update: Ducks center Rickard Rakell suffered an upper-body injury and played only 4:30 in the first period before he was done for the night. Centers Ryan Getzlaf (appendectomy) and Nate Thompson (shoulder surgery) are already sidelined.
Quote, unquote: “I don’t know what it said (about our team), but it certainly was an important win for us, especially coming from behind, which we hadn’t done all year,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Hopefully, it gives them a little bit more confidence going forward.”
Milestone alert: Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers’ 43-year-old phenom, went into the game needing three goals to catch Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Dionne had 731 during his Hall of Fame career, spent mostly with the Kings. Jagr had 728.
Up next: The Ducks play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.