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Six-Day Break Arrives at Just the Right Time

With the NCAA West Regional taking over the Arrowhead Pond this week, the playoff-bound Mighty Ducks do not play again until Sunday when they play host to Vancouver.

It will be their longest break of the season and it could not come at a better time, considering that they completed a grueling stretch of eight games in 12 nights with Monday’s 5-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“We have played a lot lately and this time off will get us a chance to get some good practices under our belt,” defenseman Niclas Havelid said.

“That’s what we need. We have to get our legs and skating back.”

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For Coach Mike Babcock, the late-season practice time will give him an opportunity to work on his team’s foundation.

“We’ll get a chance to work [Rob Niedermayer and Steve Thomas] in practice,” Babcock said. “We haven’t had any real practices since our marathon of hope got started.... I’m not happy with anything we’re doing right now but I think we’ll be able to fine-tune it quickly.”

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The Ducks hope to get defenseman Ruslan Salei, sidelined since March 5 because of a back strain, and forward Andy McDonald, who has missed 32 games because of post-concussion syndrome, back in the lineup before the playoffs, but neither player is skating yet.

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