DALLAS -- Ducks forward Matt Beleskey, who has missed four playoff games with a lower body injury, returned to skate Sunday morning and is expected to play tonight in Game 6 of the Western Conference first-round series.
The Ducks, leading 3-2, can eliminate the Dallas Stars with a victory in the game that begins at 5 p.m. Pacific time.
Beleskey had nine goals and 15 assists during the regular season, and, with 64 penalty minutes in season, he gives the Ducks another rugged body in what’s been a physical series marked by 27 penalties in Anaheim’s 6-2 Game 5 victory.
“I felt great. … Full speed, no setbacks. … 100% this morning,” Beleskey said.
It appears he’ll be teamed with rookies Rickard Rakell and Devante Smith-Pelly. Rakell scored his first career NHL goal in Game 5. Smith-Pelly said his mission is “physicality.”
Beleskey said the Ducks are striving for a repeat of Friday’s victory, when they out-hit Dallas 40-22 and scored four power-play goals on the confrontational Stars.
“If we play that game, it’s tough to play against any team that grinds that much, hits that hard,” Beleskey said. “We want that exact same style -- keep on ‘em, keep pressing forward -- and hopefully come out with the same outcome.
“If you watch our team in any game, any third period that we’re at our best, teams get smothered
by our forechecks. That’s what we’re going to go for tonight.”
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf practiced Sunday without the clear face mask he has worn since getting struck in the face in Game 1, and said afterward he plans not to wear it in tonight’s game.
Getzlaf said there was some concern about the wound reopening and being subject to infection.
“That’s what we were worried about, that’s why you put that protection on because the cut is inside,” Getzlaf said. “You need that cut to close.”