Dany Heatley is aching to play in the Ducks' home opener Friday night against the Minnesota Wild team he played on last season, but the veteran forward also badly wants his other ache to go away.
Heatley, who hasn't played this season after suffering a preseason groin strain, has skated every day this week and is believed to be targeting a return by Oct. 26's home game against the San Jose Sharks.
"I've never had this, but from what I hear it just happens that one day you feel it's good to go," said Heatley, who scored two preseason goals and was being pointed to play with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the Ducks' first line before getting hurt.
"The team looks good, good road trip. Looking forward to keeping it going at home," Heatley said.
Missing the home opener against the Wild stings, however.
"Not just because of who we're playing," said Heatley, a former two-time 50-goal scorer who rallied from being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career last season with the defensive-minded Wild to contribute in the postseason.
"Frustrating to start this way, but having a good time in the gym and on the ice, and when I'm ready, I'll be sharp," Heatley said. "We don't want it to be lingering all season."
Also on the injury front, forward Kyle Palmieri (ankle) said he expects to resume skating next week.
Get in there: Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said forward Chris Wagner, summoned from minor-league Norfolk, Va., on Wednesday, will make his NHL debut on the Ducks' fourth line Friday night with center Nate Thompson and forward Tim Jackman.
Rickard Rakell, who was point-less in two games, is expected to be a healthy scratch.
Wagner was sent to Norfolk on Oct. 1, won American Hockey League player of the week honors with a hat trick that featured two short-handed goals Saturday, then recalled after Ducks forward Patrick Maroon sprained a knee ligament on Monday.
"Whatever they give me, I'm just going to work hard and see what happens," said Wagner, a fifth-round pick in 2010. "You always want to have a good start. I'll take [what happened in the Norfolk opener], the puck was going in, keep it going.
"I don't wish injuries on anybody, but I'll make the most of the opportunity while I can."
No surprise: Riding a three-game win streak, with rookie goalie John Gibson getting extra work on the side this weekend with Norfolk, Frederik Andersen was the first goalie off the ice Friday morning.
Andersen has a 1.95 goals-against average as goes against Minnesota's Darcy Kuemper, who has posted shutouts in his team's first two games.
"I don't think they're going to go 82 games without getting scored on," Boudreau said. "We want to play hard, and hopefully that's good enough to win, and love playing in front of the home crowd."
Hebert back in the building: Former Ducks goaltender Guy Hebert is joining Fox Sports Net as an analyst on "Ducks Live" telecasts, starting with Friday night's game on Prime Ticket. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.