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Ducks Continue Homestand Against Blackhawks At Honda Center

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will aim for a third straight victory when they continue a six-game homestand at the Honda Center with tonight's test against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks won their last two games of December after posting just one victory in their previous five outings. Anaheim also began its current residency with Friday's impressive 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky both scored twice, as the Ducks handled the Flyers for their third consecutive victory at the Honda Center. All told, Anaheim is 12-6-1 as the host this season. Bobby Ryan also lit the lamp for the Ducks, who also received a 35-save performance from Jonas Hiller. "He came up big," Blake said of Hiller. "We knew [the Flyers] played last night, we just wanted to jump on them right away, but we knew they were going to get their chances. [Hiller] shut the door and played outstanding."

Anaheim star forward Ryan Getzlaf missed the first of what could be many games with multiple nasal sinus fractures. Getzlaf suffered the injury after getting hit in the head with a deflected puck in Tuesday's win over Phoenix and is sidelined indefinitely. Getzlaf is second on Anaheim this season with 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists).

The Ducks have lost both meetings with the Blackhawks this season and the defending Stanley Cup champions notched a 4-1 win when the clubs met last on Nov. 26 in Anaheim. Chicago has taken six of nine overall in the series, but the Blackhawks have just two wins in their last eight at the Honda Center.

Just one point separates Anaheim and the Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings heading into tonight. The Ducks are currently holding onto the conference's eighth and final playoff spot with 44 points, while Chicago is one point back in a tie with Columbus. The Blackhawks will try to avoid a third straight loss tonight, however, as Joel Quenneville's club recently dropped consecutive games against San Jose and St. Louis. Chicago had won four in a row prior to losing its last two contests.

Chicago dropped a 3-1 decision Tuesday in St. Louis and was then dealt a 5-3 setback by the visiting Sharks on Thursday. Joe Thornton scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lift San Jose to the win at United Center. The Sharks scored the only two goals in the final period of regulation after the clubs entered the third tied at 3-3.

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi turned aside 26 to earn his third victory of the season against the team he backstopped to the Stanley Cup title last season. Patrick Sharp, Troy Brouwer and Brian Campbell posted goals for the Blackhawks, while Marty Turco stopped 20-of-24 shots in defeat. "We battled hard tonight," Campbell said. "It's a tough challenge, you have to play a good game against a team like that. We battled back and knew we were in for a dogfight in the third period. The effort was there but I don't think the 'smarts' were there."

Turco has started the last three games while Corey Crawford has battle flu- like symptoms. Crawford could resume his starting role tonight, although he and Turco are expected to split starts over the next two days for the Blackhawks, who will visit Los Angeles tomorrow night to face the Kings. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is still out with a right shoulder injury and forward Fernando Pisani is questionable for tonight with flu symptoms. Chicago has lost its last three road games and is 8-6-3 as the guest this season.

For more Ducks news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.