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Blackhawks look to break season series deadlock with Anaheim

It’s the final West Coast game of the season for the Hawks.

Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For the final time this season, the Chicago Blackhawks will play a game on the West Coast on Sunday afternoon when they wrap up the current four-game road trip by facing the Anaheim Ducks.

Anaheim enters Sunday’s action in the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference with 76 points obtained in 65 games played. Just behind them are Colorado (75 in 64), St. Louis (75 in 66) and Calgary (73 in 66), so two points are vital for the Ducks to keep pace. The Hawks did Anaheim a favor on Saturday by rallying to beat the Los Angeles Kings, who sit only one point ahead of the Ducks in the Pacific Division standings.

The Ducks’ most recent outing was a 4-2 home win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, which followed a pair of losses to the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers, who both are nowhere near playoff contention. Playing down to their opponent has been a problem for Anaheim lately, with losses to Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators all coming in the last month along with the defeats to Arizona and Edmonton.

Anaheim will get a lineup boost with Ryan Getzlaf expected back in after dealing with the flu. Rickard Rakell remains the goals (26) and points (53) leader for the Ducks while enjoying a breakout fourth season in the NHL. Getzlaf is averaging more than a point per game, but has been limited to only 40 games this season. Elsewhere, the players who make this such an easy team to hate are still here, with Corey Perry amassing 37 points in 54 games and Ryan “no human can withstood that many hits” Kesler with a paltry eight points in his 27 games. All those injuries may finally be adding up for one of the Hawks’ biggest villains in recent memory.

There’s a feel-good atmosphere around the Hawks after Saturday’s surprising comeback win over the Kings. In their previous two meetings with the Ducks, Chicago lost 3-2 three weeks ago during the month of misery and curb-stomped the Ducks 7-3 just after Thanksgiving. The assumption here is the lineup will remain largely the same with the exception of a goalie change on the tail-end of a back-to-back, but who knows at this point? On Saturday, Chicago proved it hasn’t checked out for the rest of the season despite the lack of playoff aspirations, which could help make this last month a bit more enjoyable. And tank wins be damned, playing the role of spoiler is a hell of a lot more fun anyway.

Lineups

Blackhawks

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
F2 Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Vinnie Hinostroza
F3 Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Anthony Duclair
F4 Patrick Sharp - David Kampf - Matthew Highmore
D1 Duncan Keith - Connor Murphy
D2 Erik Gustaffson - Brent Seabrook
D3 Carl Dahlstrom - Jordan Oesterle
Goaltender Jean-Francois Berube

Ducks

Position Players
Position Players
F1 Rickard Rackell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
F2 Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
F3 Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase
F4 Jason Chimera - Antoine Vermette - Chris Kelly
D1 Cam Fowler - Brandon Montour
D2 Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
D3 Marcus Pettersson - Josh Manson
Goaltender John Gibson or Ryan Miller

*Lines are subject to change.

How to watch Blackhawks at Ducks

Start time: 3 p.m. CT

Location: Honda Center, Anaheim

TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network