Seventy-two down, 10 to go. Here’s the skinny on the Mighty Ducks’ final 10 games of the regular season:
Tonight at New Jersey--The Devils aren’t the same inactive lugs you might remember from their 1995 Stanley Cup run. They still rely heavily on goalie Martin Brodeur and a stingy defense, but the Devils can skate a bit too. New Jersey is 5-2-3 in its last 10 games. Expected result: a Duck loss.
Friday at the New York Rangers--The Rangers’ playoff hopes are all but gone, but it’s always fun to watch Wayne Gretzky work his magic. Result: a Duck win.
Saturday at the New York Islanders--The Ducks often have trouble getting fired up to play the dregs. But Islander General Manager Mike Milbury called Duck center Travis Green a gutless puke for his tough hit on defenseman Kenny Jonsson in the Dec. 18 game, which could enliven things in the rematch. Result: win.
April 5 at Detroit--You can’t exactly call the Red Wings new and improved since they aged considerably by picking up veterans Chris Chelios, Wendel Clark, Bill Ranford and Ulf Samuelsson. Result: loss.
April 7 at Dallas--The Ducks thumped the tired-looking Stars, 5-1, last week at the Arrowhead Pond. But the Ducks haven’t won at Dallas since 1993. Result: loss.
April 9 vs. San Jose at the Pond--The Ducks are 3-0-1 this season against the Sharks. Result: win.
April 11 vs. Phoenix at the Pond--Expected to be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup. Leave the kids at home for this one. Plenty of bloodshed is expected. Result: win.
April 14 vs. St. Louis at the Pond--Could be the most important game of the season if the standings are still tight. Certainly no time for a letdown after the Phoenix game. Result: win.
April 15 vs. the Kings at the Great Western Forum--Will pride grab the Kings for this one? Doubtful. Result: win.
April 17 at San Jose--The betting here is that the Ducks will have locked up fifth place after defeating the Kings. The only way you’ll see Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya in this one is if fifth place is still in doubt or Selanne needs a goal or two to reach 50. Result: loss.
TONIGHT at New Jersey
4:30 PST, Fox Sports West 2
* Site--Continental Airlines Arena.
* Radio--XTRA (690).
* Records--Ducks 33-28-11, Devils 39-22-11.
* Record vs. Devils--0-1.
* Update--New Jersey has the league’s best road record at 24-9-3, but has been rather ordinary at home at 15-13-8. The Devils won the first game, 4-3, Jan. 20 at the Pond.