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Ducks can clinch Pacific Division tonight vs. San Jose

Anaheim has a shot to clinch top spot in the Pacific Division and remain in the hunt for the Presidents’ Trophy with a win over in-state rival San Jose tonight.

The Ducks head into Wednesday’s action on 110 points, three up on the Sharks and four back of Boston for first overall in the NHL. With the win, Anaheim can also overtake idle St. Louis for top spot in the Western Conference.

But for tonight, the Pacific Division is the goal.

Clinching top spot would give Anaheim a number of things — home-ice advantage in at least the first two rounds, for example — and would also keep the Ducks from having to face Los Angeles in the opening round. The Kings are locked into the No. 3 seed in the Pacific and, aas far as opening-round opponents go, they don’t come much tougher as L.A. won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and made it to the Western Conference finals a year ago, dispatching of the Sharks along the way.

Speaking of the Sharks, they’ll be looking for a win to keep their Pacific Division title chances alive, and should have confidence heading into the Honda Center. San Jose has won three of its four previous games against the Ducks this year, including a 3-2 victory on Mar. 20, and will get a Ducks team playing its third game in four nights in three cities.

Should San Jose win in regulation tonight, it would set up a fairly exciting final stretch for both clubs. There’d be just one point separating the two with each team having a pair of games remaining: Anaheim closes against the Kings and Avs, while the Sharks finish against the Avs and Coyotes.

For more on the Ducks-Sharks matchup and why both teams would probably like to avoid the Kings in Round 1, check out our most recent PHT Extra:

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    No hearing scheduled for Gudas after big hit on Sabres rookie

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    Flyers d-man Radko Gudas doesn’t have a disciplinary hearing scheduled for his hit on Buffalo’s Daniel Catenacci on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

    Gudas was given a five-minute charging major for laying out Catenacci late in the third period of Philly’s 5-1 win. The hit ended Catenacci’s night, a tough way for the 22-year-old to finish just his third NHL contest.

    After the contest, Buffalo players and head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t mince words when it came to Gudas’ actions.

    “I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News. “I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

    “That guy’s an idiot and stupid,” Foligno said of Gudas, per the Courier-Post. “He gets his hits in, he’s dirty and he’s been known for it. He goes after a rookie who plays in three games and goes right at his head.

    “He’s an idiot, that guy.”

    Gudas certainly has furthered his reputation as a dangerous hitter this season.

    In December, he was suspended three games for a headshot on Mika Zibanejad and, earlier this month, was tossed from a game against Montreal for clipping, after delivering a low hit on Habs forward Lucas Lessio.

    Report: The chances of Carey Price returning this season are ‘slim’

    Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price looks on during a scrimmage game alongside goaltending coach Stephane Waite during NHL hockey training camp in Brossard, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
    Associated Press
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    Details surrounding Carey Price‘s injury have been scarce, but according to La Presse newspaper, the chances of him returning to the lineup this season are “slim” at best.

    The 28-year-old has been out with a lower-body injury since Nov. 25.

    His return date has been pushed back several times, and La Presse suggests that’ll happen again.

    Originally, the Canadiens said Price would be out six weeks. Then, on January 21, General Manager Marc Bergevin said he expected his goalie to be out another three to four weeks, which means that he would be coming back sometime next week.

    Price has been skating for a while, but he’s been doing so without his goalie equipment.

    Basically, don’t hold your breath.

    Here’s an excerpt from the story (quotes have been translated):

    The possibility of Carey Price returning this season are so slim that people in the organization don’t even believe it’ll happen.

    According to information obtained by La Presse, the Canadiens aren’t optimistic about their star goaltender’s chances of returning this season. He’s been out since November and the club refuses to confirm the fact that he suffered a right knee injury. 

    The report goes on to say that Price is dealing with a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury. The only good news is that he won’t have to undergo surgery.

    “People in the Canadiens organization don’t believe he’ll  be back during the regular season,” a source told La Presse’s Richard Labbé. “They’re wondering if it’s even worth pushing him to come back, but they don’t want to admit anything publicly.

    “They don’t want the fans to give up hope this season. There’s a marketing aspect to all of this.”

    The story also mentions that Price is telling people that he’ll be healthy enough to represent Canada at the World Cup of Hockey next September.

    PHT Morning Skate: Snoop Dogg wears OHL team’s jersey during a show

    Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, arrives at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Culver City, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
    Associated Press
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Snoop Dog wore a Mitch Marner London Knights jersey at his concert in London. (Bardown)

    Brent Burns‘ son got a gift from Jaromir Jagr:

    –Here’s Pierre LeBrun’s latest edition of Team Canada’s World Cup roster. (ESPN)

    –The NHL completely ruined the Toronto Maple Leafs’ centennial season. (Puck Daddy)

    –The Chicago Blackhawks will be going to the White House on Feb. 18. (Blackhawks.nhl.com)

    –Wings goalie Petr Mrazek talks to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman about “doing the right things” and “working hard”. (Sportsnet)

    Sharks scratch Flames’ big lead, Calgary wins anyway

    Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund (11) chases down the puck against San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
    AP
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    If you turned off Thursday’s Calgary Flames – San Jose Sharks game early, you’ll probably be stunned to see that Calgary won 6-5 via a shootout.

    For instance:

    • A Sharks fan may have bitterly called it a night when Calgary went up 4-1.
    • Conversely, a Flames devotee might have retired after San Jose took a 5-4 lead, possibly with a broken remote.

    The Flames only trailed for about two minutes before scoring the last “real” goal of the game, eventually taking their third straight win thanks to a shootout triumph.

    It’s been a strange ride for Calgary, with its most recent win happening after Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma were punished with a healthy scratch. As strange as this game was, the “charity point” can leave both teams looking through a lot of film, yet with something gained as well.

    Ultimately, the message may very well be: don’t sleep on these teams.

    (In less positive news, Karri Ramo is injured, and it doesn’t look good.

    Jonas Hiller closing out the game on a hot streak could be pretty important if Ramo’s out for some time.)