Key play: Blake Wheeler scored 3:07 into overtime and the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a one-goal deficit to take a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. The Ducks dominated the play in OT, hanging on to the puck for extended stretches, but Wheeler scored on a counterattack.
Playoff update: The Ducks (44-24-11, 99 points) are tied with the Kings (47-28-5, 99 points) in standings points, but lead because they have played one fewer game. The Ducks and Kings play Thursday at Staples Center. The Ducks have three regular-season games to play and the Kings have two.
Pivotal performer: Ducks right wing Corey Perry tapped in a rebound of a Ryan Getzlaf shot off the goal post for his team-leading 33rd goal of the season, at 13:33 of the first period. Perry has four goals and six points in his past eight games.
Quote, unquote: “Until the third period I thought we were just playing to play with them,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We weren’t pushing like we were against Dallas. I thought we played better in the third period and in the overtime. But when the best faceoff player in the league (Ducks center Ryan Kesler) loses a draw and you don’t cover the guy (Winnipeg left wing Marko Dano) in front of the net, bad things happen (and the Jets scored the tying goal).”
Injury update: Ducks defenseman Simon Despres (upper body) returned to the lineup after sitting out six games. The Ducks were without Frederik Andersen (concussion), Kevin Bieksa (upper body), David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (upper body) and Rickard Rakell (appendectomy).
JETS AT DUCKS
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.
The Ducks announced a number of injuries and illnesses after Friday’s morning skate at the Honda Center. Here’s the list:
Goalie Frederik Andersen suffered a concussion during a relief appearance during an 8-3 victory Wednesday against the Calgary Flames. He was unavailable to play in Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. His layoff is to be determined, but the Ducks recalled Anton Khudobin from San Diego of the AHL.
Left wing David Perron has a separated right shoulder and will be lost to the team for between four to six weeks, an MRI revealed. Perron was hurt during the Ducks’ victory March 20 over the Winnipeg Jets. Perron sat out for the sixth game Friday. He has been able to work out in the gym, but hasn’t resumed skating yet.
Center Rickard Rakell underwent an appendectomy and will be sidelined for up to one week. Chris Wagner was recalled from San Diego to fill his spot. Rakell fell ill and couldn’t play Wednesday. It was later determined that he needed an appendectomy. Ryan Getzlaf had a similar procedure earlier this season.
Defenseman Hampus Lindholm was sent home before the morning skate Friday because he was ill.
The Ducks also were without defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Simon Despres because of upper-body injuries.
Here’s some of what former Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey said about his return to the Honda Center with the Boston Bruins on Friday and also taking a stick in the face that left quite a mark near his eye: “It was fun. It was fun to come back here. Obviously, the outcome is not what you want. It was weird sitting on the other bench tonight, but the first one is out of the way and you have to move on.
“Supposedly, there was no high stick call. I don’t know if he (Ducks defenseman Simon Despres) was shooting the puck. I thought he tried to lift my stick and hit me. It’s just another black eye.”
Defenseman Simon Despres rejoined the Ducks for their practice Monday in Boston after he spent four games on a long-term conditioning loan to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League. Despres hasn’t played for the Ducks since suffering a concussion in an Oct. 16 game against the Colorado Avalanche. He had goal and an assist with San Diego. He remains on injured reserve, however.
Key play: Ryan Getzlaf scored the deciding goal in a shootout and the Ducks rallied for a 4-3 victory Friday over the St. Louis Blues at the Honda Center. The Ducks erased a 3-1 second-period deficit and improved to 2-2 in shootouts this season.
Pivotal performer: Ducks center Ryan Kesler scored in the first and third periods, his seventh and eighth goals of the season. Kesler’s last multi-goal game was Dec. 5, 2014 against the Minnesota Wild. He has four goals in his last five games. Kesler was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick (see below).
Dropping the gloves: Kesler scored a takedown during a second-period fight with the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko objected to Kesler’s tough but legal check that leveled St. Louis center Jori Lehtera along the boards.
Quote, unquote: “Big,” Kesler said of rallying to win. “Going into the third we knew we had to buckle down and claw back and I thought we did a good job of that. It would be tough not getting that extra point, even it was going to be a shootout loss. I thought the guys battled hard and we deserved that extra point.”
Injury update: Ducks defenseman Simon Despres is close to returning to the ice, a team spokesman said. Despres has been sidelined since suffering a concussion in the Ducks’ loss Oct. 16 to the Colorado Avalanche. He sat out for the 36th game Friday. The Ducks expect to know more about Despres return to the ice Saturday.
The NHL on Saturday suspended Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie for three games for charging and interference after a second-period hit on Ducks defenseman Simon Despres. Barrie will serve the first game of his ban Sunday against the Kings at Staples Center. Despres suffered a head injury and could not finish Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Avalanche. He’s also unlikely to play Sunday against the Minnesota Wild at the Honda Center.
Here’s the link to the NHL’s news release and the video: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=783699&navid=nhl:topheads
The Ducks signed defenseman Simon Despres to a five-year contract extension at an average of $3.7-million per season Friday morning, locking up another valuable roster member for the long term. Despres impressed the Ducks with his speed and physical play after a March 2 trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 24-year-old Despres scored one goal and six points in 16 games after the Ducks acquired him from the Penguins for defenseman Ben Lovejoy. Despres also had one goal and seven points in 16 playoff games last spring.
“I’m really happy to be here for another five years,” Despres told reporters after the Ducks’ final practice before opening the regular season Saturday in San Jose. “It’s a great team, great city, great fans and a great environment to play hockey.”
Despres could have been a restricted free agent next summer.