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Ducks' fourth line throws its weight around effectively

DUCKS FYI

The line has 16 goals in 40 games, one of the difference-makers in success this season for the Ducks, who missed the playoffs last season.

April 09, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

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The names have changed, but the steady production from the Ducks' fourth line hasn't.

The Ducks' fourth line has 16 goals through 40 games, an undeniable difference-maker, along with home-ice sharpness, strong goaltending and contributions such as veteran free-agent pickup Radek Dvorak's two goals Monday.

After missing the playoffs last season, the Ducks can clinch their sixth trip to the postseason in the last eight years with one point against visiting Colorado on Wednesday night.

"Knowing we can roll out four lines every night with energy, that's a lot for the other team to deal with," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The latest contribution from the line came in Sunday's shootout victory over the Kings, when former first-line member Kyle Palmieri, 22, raced down ice in the first period and shoved a shot past Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier.

Monday night versus Edmonton, Palmieri, rookie Emerson Etem, veteran Saku Koivu and center David Steckel shared fourth-line duties.

"We just wanted to use our speed and get in on them," Palmieri said. "This edition … getting in on the other guys, throwing our bodies around, we've had some success. I hope we keep it going. It's a huge part of our game."

Playoff talk

With eight regular-season games remaining, the Ducks face only two teams in playoff position as their leader is urging another Stanley Cup run.

"I remember people saying, 'Let's have a good year,' " following last year's non-playoff season, Boudreau said. "If you're not going to shoot for the moon …"

With a possible playoff opener at Honda Center on April 30 — the Killers are in concert at the arena May 1 — the No. 2 Western Conference team is in position to have home-ice advantage for at least two possible series.

The Ducks' home mark is their best since the Stanley Cup championship season of 2006-07.

DUCKS VS. COLORADO

When: 7.

Where: Honda Center.

On the air: TV: KDOC; Radio: 830.

Record vs. Avalanche: 2-0.

Etc.: Boudreau said he expects captain Ryan Getzlaf to return from a three-game absence because of a right-leg injury.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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