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Ducks' Rene Bourque gets another game opportunity

Rene Bourque has struggled offensively for the Ducks, but he'll be back in the lineup tonight against Flames

Forward Rene Bourque has been goal-less in the Ducks’ last nine games, a stretch in which he’s been a healthy scratch four times.

But Bourque is expected to be on Anaheim’s fourth line tonight, elevated over forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who hasn’t scored a goal in the last 18 games he’s played with two healthy scratches.

The Ducks (30-10-6) meet the Calgary Flames (25-18-3) at Honda Center at 7.

“When you get in the lineup, you can’t be ordinary,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I used to get called up [from the minor leagues] a lot. If I just did my job, as soon as the guy that got injured got back healthy, I was back down to the minors.

“When you’re in the lineup, you’ve got to do something – not just being there – you’ve got to do something on a positive note that helps us win.”

Bourque, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 20, has spent time on the Ducks’ first line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but has since been moved off in favor of Patrick Maroon and has two goals since the trade.

“Obviously, I’d like to score more. Been bouncing around a lot on different lines every game, in and out a bit,” Bourque said. “To stay in the lineup every night, you’ve got to play better to do that."

“I’m playing better than I did when I was in Montreal … skating better, moving my feet more, playing better defensively, in better shape."

“It’s nice to have [line stability], but I’m not in that situation. If you play well, you’re going to stay in. Obviously, I want to stay in, so I’m hoping I play well tonight.”

FISTRIC DEMOTED: The Ducks moved defenseman Mark Fistric to minor-league Norfolk Wednesday, an indicator that sidelined defenseman Eric Brewer (broken foot) should be ready for game action, if necessary, on Tuesday in Vancouver.

Fistric was nagged by an injured back early in the season, returned to play six games between Dec. 5-22, but has been a healthy scratch since as Francois Bewauchemin returned from a broken finger.

Brewer was due to be medically evaluated both Wednesday and during the weekend, he said.

SCANDAL!?: The last time the Ducks had lengthy time off like the four-day NHL All-Star break that begins Thursday, the NHL launched an investigation into a team practice that captain Ryan Getzlaf organized at Anaheim Ice.

Boudreau and a Ducks spokesman took exception at a question that referred to the inquiry as “a little bit of a scandal,” the coach describing the Getzlaf session as a family day on the ice that the league probed and quickly dismissed.

Getzlaf, this time, is the lone Duck playing in the All-Star game in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday.

“We hope they rest, enjoy themselves, and when they come back, I hope they’re ready for a sprint to finish – 29 games in 54 days,” Boudreau said. “They better be well rested and hungry to play hockey. Most of it is conference play, and there’s still a lot of teams close.”

The Kings sit out of playoff position, ninth in the Western Conference, and are 14 points behind Anaheim.

“When we come back, every team will be rested, flying through the stretch,” he said.

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