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34-31-11

Ducks-Canucks Preview

AP - Sports

The Anaheim Ducks can match a franchise record for victories Saturday night.

They set a different franchise mark the last time they saw the Vancouver Canucks, who turned to some bush-league antics near the end of a humiliating defeat.

The visiting Ducks have won all three matchups this season with the Canucks, who again may be without leading scorer Henrik Sedin.

Anaheim (47-18-8) last won 48 games in 2006-07 when it finished with a team-record 110 points and won the franchise's lone Stanley Cup. The Ducks are one point behind San Jose in the Pacific Division, with the Sharks playing Saturday afternoon in Colorado.

These teams last met Jan. 15. Anaheim set a club record with six power-play goals in a 9-1 rout that ended with Vancouver amassing 58 penalty minutes in the third period with several old-time-hockey attempts to start a brawl.

Tom Sestito is the only Canucks skater with two goals this season against the Ducks, but it's more notable that he finished with a game-high 22 penalty minutes in the last matchup. Sestito has an NHL-high 201 penalty minutes, and has been whistled for fighting penalties in each of Vancouver's last two games.

It's not clear if there is any bad blood remaining from the previous encounter. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau didn't sound too upset afterward.

"There was a lot of frustration on their part," Boudreau said. "They just started punching our guys. It wasn't the brightest thing to do. What are the refs supposed to do? ... It was just an unfortunate game for Vancouver."

Trying to start a fight probably isn't bright for either team since the Canucks (34-30-11) are in a desperate situation as they trail Phoenix by five points for the Western Conference's final wild-card spot.

"Obviously we're chasing teams, that's no secret, we're on the outside looking in," winger Zack Kassian said. "But we believe, the 22 guys and management and the coaching staff, that we still have a chance."

Sedin, who has a team-high 46 points, has missed the last two games with a left leg injury suffered in Sunday's 4-2 win over Buffalo.

Anaheim has outscored Vancouver 16-5 in the season series, but this is the first meeting in Canada. Corey Perry has a team-high seven points versus the Canucks and Nick Bonino five.

The Ducks fell 4-3 in overtime at Edmonton on Friday despite a 51-23 advantage in shots.

"You have a chance to put these teams away and you don't, and when that happens, you're not going to get what you want," Boudreau told the Ducks' official website.

Vancouver had a three-game win streak snapped with Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado that capped a two-game trip that began with Wednesday's 5-2 win in Minnesota.

"We have to look at positives here," Kassian said. "We had a good road trip. We didn't come out with two points but we played hard tonight. Quick turnaround against a good team on Saturday and we need to keep pushing."

Canucks fans likely won't get a chance to see the retiring Teemu Selanne, who played Friday and has not dressed on back-to-back nights. Selanne is expected to play his final game in Vancouver when the Ducks return April 7.

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