Playoff opponent for Ducks has yet to be determined
The Ducks are headed to the postseason, but just where they end up in the bracket remains uncertain.
Randy Carlyle’s team began Thursday as the the No. 3 seed in the Pacific Division. They fell to the first wild-card spot when the Kings beat the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. The Ducks will finish second or third in the division or in the first wild-card spot.
Two games remain in the regular season: a home game Friday against the Dallas Stars and a road game Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.
If the Ducks finish second in the division, they would open the playoffs at home against either the Kings or the Sharks.
“I think it makes a difference with our team,” Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano said, “and how we play at home. … I think if we reach a point where things don’t matter and it’s not a huge deal for the last game, I think there’s guys that deserve the rest.”
Cogliano singled out captain Ryan Getzlaf, who logged 25-plus minutes in Wednesday’s playoff-clinching victory over the Wild, as someone who deserves rest if the Ducks are locked into their playoff seed Saturday morning.
But for now, Carlyle said he’s “preparing to play our best lineup, bottom line.”
The Ducks are 25-10-5 at Honda Center and 17-15-8 on the road.
Starting goaltender John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury Sunday against Colorado and didn’t play Wednesday, but he participated in an abbreviated practice Thursday.
Carlyle wouldn’t comment on the 24-year-old’s availability for Friday’s game and that’s no surprise: The coach never reveals who’s in line to start.
With the postseason so close, it’s possible Gibson will rest, even if he’s healthy enough to suit up. Ryan Miller has been stellar all season in relief.
"[Gibson has] been lucky that it hasn’t been long-term,” Carlyle said, referring to the goalie’s ever-changing availability. “If it’s a bump and a bruise and a strain and we can get through it in a day or two, then that’s great.”
Eaves ruled out
Patrick Eaves hasn’t suited up since the second week of the season, and he’s been sorely missed ever since.
He scored 32 goals last season, and his arrival in Anaheim at the trade deadline helped propel the Ducks to the playoffs.
Eaves was signed during the offseason to help the Ducks return to the postseason, but he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in October, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves. He’s played only two games this season.
Eaves was around the facility Thursday, but as expected, he won’t be playing again this season. Carlyle ruled the winger out for the postseason and said the goal is for Eaves to return ahead of training camp in September.
When: Friday, 7 p.m. PDT.
On the air: TV: NBCSN; Radio: 1090.
Update: Francois Beauchemin will skate on Honda Center ice for the final time in a regular-season game. The 37-year-old defenseman is set to retire at season’s end after 18 campaigns. … The Ducks and Stars have split two games this season.
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