Stars at Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks punched their ticket into the playoffs but their seeding remains very much up in the air with two games remaining in the regular season. The Ducks have a chance to finish as high as second place in the Pacific Division and can also remain in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference as they prepare to host the Dallas Stars on Friday night.
Anaheim clinched its sixth consecutive playoff berth still has plenty to play for, trailing second-place San Jose by three points and third-place Los Angeles by one in the Pacific with a game in hand on each. "Now, it's just about not being satisfied. We just got in," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We have to finish these two games strong and make sure we're playing the right brand of hockey going in." Although the Ducks had their streak of five consecutive division titles snapped, they earned their way into the postseason on the strength of an 8-1-1 run over the last 10 games. An eight-game losing streak last month ended the playoff hopes of the Stars, who did the Ducks a favor with a 4-2 victory over the Sharks on Tuesday and will face the Kings on Saturday in another game that can affect seeding in the West.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE STARS (41-31-8): Unlike his team, captain Jamie Benn is finishing the season on a high note, registering a hat trick in Tuesday's win at San Jose to eclipse 30 goals for the fourth time in five seasons and reach 250 for his career. Benn has scored 10 goals and collected 16 points over the last 13 games to boost his total to 74 for the season -- three behind Tyler Seguin for the team lead. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen exited Tuesday's game with an upper-body injury, but will be available for the final two games, coach Ken Hitchcock said.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (42-25-13): Second-year forward Ondrej Kase delivered the game-winner in overtime against Colorado on Sunday and followed that up by scoring the tiebreaking goal late in the third period of Wednesday's playoff clincher to reach 20 for the season. "It is huge for me. The guys congratulated me. It is big," Kase said. "I hope we win the next two games and be ready for playoffs.” Starting netminder John Gibson, who missed Wednesday's game and is listed as day-to-day, skated Thursday and will skate again Friday morning.
1. The home team has won the past eight in the series, which featured a combined five goals in both meetings this season.
2. Anaheim is 9-1-0 at home since March 1 and has won six in a row at the Honda Center.
3. Dallas is 1-for-17 on the power play over the last six games.