DUCKS (16-16-7) at STARS (17-11-11)
Season Series: This is the fourth of six meetings between the Pacific Division foes. The Stars won the first two meetings, but the Ducks broke through with a 4-3 overtime win on Dec. 8.
Big Story: It’s two Western Conference teams on the outside of the playoff picture as the midway point of the season approaches. Both teams are showing signs of life, having each won 3 of their last 5 games.
Ducks: After being mired at the bottom of the conference for most of the first half of the season, the Ducks are slowly climbing into the playoff picture. They’re now tied for 12th in the West with the St. Louis Blues with 39 points, just eight points behind the No. 8 spot.
Bobby Ryan’s two-goal game sparked the Ducks to a 5-3 win against the Wild on Tuesday night, a desperate win for a desperate team. And they did it without Ryan Getzlaf.
“We've been in desperation mode for 10-15 games," Ryan said. "We came out hard tonight and the guys were prepared. When a guy like Getz goes down, it really impacts everybody around the room. So some guys have to step up."
Stars: One sure sign that
The Stars’ 5-4 win against the defensively stingy Blackhawks on Tuesday might be what the team needs to make the push into the top eight.
"We stuck with it and scored some opportunistic goals," Brad Richards said of the win against the Western-leading Blackhawks. "It was a big challenge. They're probably the best team in the league, the way they move the puck and the talent they have. It's a big win."
Who's Hot: For the Stars, center Steve Ott has 3 goals and 1 assist in his last two games, while teammate Brad Richards has 7 assists in his last 5 games. For the Ducks,
Injury Report: The Ducks are expecting to get back Ryan Getzlaf (laceration) at some point during this three-game road trip that starts in
Puck Drop: Will Bobby Ryan wear the red, white and blue at the 2010 Olympics? Probably, but it doesn’t mean players like Ryan can’t use going to
“I think it has an effect on all of your players that are potential Olympians," coach Randy Carlyle said. "You can't help as a player to not think about it. The one thing that we've asked is their contribution is to be here, first and foremost. And if they make a positive one here, it enhances their opportunity to play there.”