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Perry is expected to play in Game 4

DUCKS REPORT

April 17, 2008|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Corey Perry is another reason things are now looking up for the Ducks in the Western Conference quarterfinal series against Dallas.

Perry is expected to be available for Game 4 tonight after sitting out for nearly six weeks because of a severed quadriceps in his right leg.

Since he began taking part in practice last week, Perry said his leg has been improving "and it's snowballed from there. It's getting better every day and that's the way I like to see it. We've been trying to build up that strength and get my leg back to where it was."

The Ducks pulled their way back into the best-of-seven series Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over the Stars. Now they can try to tie the series at two games apiece with the help of their leading goal scorer.

Perry, who had 29 goals during the regular season, was injured March 6 at Colorado when he was inadvertently cut by the skate blade of Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore.

On Wednesday, the winger skated alongside regular linemate Ryan Getzlaf for the first time since the injury, heightening speculation that he could be ready to play after sitting out the final 12 games of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs.

"It's like pulling teeth out," Perry said of the rehabilitation process. "I've been in the dressing room and riding the bike. Half the time, I was talking to myself. It's one of those things where you know you want to be out there so bad that it hurts.

"Everybody has to go through it at certain points in their career. Just get it over with now, get back in the lineup and move forward."

Coach Randy Carlyle indicated that if he chooses to play Perry, he would ease him back into the lineup and not necessarily put him back on the top line to start.

"The level of the game and the level of the intensity is obviously higher," Carlyle said. "It's another step that the player has to take. We have lots of confidence in Corey Perry that he'll get there. And it'll be a wait-and-see type of attitude that we'll take with him."

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Forward Rob Niedermayer continues to have concussion-like symptoms, but he is improving, said team doctor Craig Milhouse, who has had regular contact with the winger. The symptoms that Niedermayer has, Milhouse added, are not debilitating and nothing that approach what former Ducks player Andy McDonald experienced when he missed the second half of the 2002-03 season.

Niedermayer was hurt in the third period of Game 2 when he was on the receiving end of a collision between the Ducks' Travis Moen and Dallas forward Brenden Morrow.

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Tickets are available for Game 5 on Friday at the Honda Center and can be purchased at the arena box office, by telephone at (714) 703-2545, at all Ticketmaster locations or online at anaheimducks.com

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eric.stephens@latimes.com

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