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Ducks expect defenseman Sami Vatanen to return from injury

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, sidelined since Feb. 15, is expected to be back in lineup for Colorado game

Barring any setback, Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen will return to the team's lineup Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said Vatanen will have the opportunity at the team's morning skate Friday at Honda Center to show he's healthy and ready to play. Thursday was an off day for the team.

Vatanen, leading all Anaheim defenseman with 12 goals and 34 points, has been sidelined since Feb. 15 with an unspecified lower-body injury. He said this week he felt ready to return and he skated crisply at Wednesday's morning skate.

He didn't play in the rivalry showdown Wednesday against the Kings, which the Ducks won, 3-2, in overtime, but he could against a Colorado team sitting outside playoff position.

"I don't think it had anything to do with, 'Is it a better game?' for a return," Boudreau said. "We just want to be sure he's completely ready. If he feels he's completely ready, we'll give him a shot at it. We've asked him to be totally honest because we need him for the playoffs. We know he wants to play."

What about Andersen?

Goalie Frederik Andersen, who has 30 wins this season, hasn't played in the last four games as 21-year-old John Gibson has beaten high-caliber goalies Devan Dubnyk, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick in succession.

Boudreau wouldn't tip his hand on who will start against Colorado.

"All I can tell you is that the goalies know the plan," Boudreau said. "Gibby's played four in a row, Freddie played the two previous. Freddie is going to play. There is a plan for the rest of the month and going forward."



When: 7.

On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 830.

Etc.: The Avalanche are paced by Jarome Iginla's 48 points (22 goals).

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