Ducks keep rolling, inch closer to home ice in first round

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The Anaheim Ducks are starting to get on a roll at just the right time of year.

Thanks to their 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night, the Ducks continued their recent run of great play and moved into the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division, jumping ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

The Ducks are now 9-1-1 in their past 11 games and find themselves just one point back of the San Jose Sharks for the second spot in the division.

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If they can overtake the Sharks on Saturday (the Ducks play Arizona; the Sharks play Minnesota) that would give them home-ice advantage in the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. Given how great Anaheim has been at home this season, where they are now 26-10-5 on the season, that would be a huge deal.

Even though the Ducks are dealing with a couple of pretty significant injuries right now with John Gibson and Cam Fowler currently sidelined they are starting to look like one of those teams that nobody really wants to play in the playoffs.

Ryan Miller started in Gibson’s absence on Friday and stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced. He has been excellent in his role as the Ducks’ backup goalie this year and gives them an extremely solid option if Gibson misses an extended period of time.

Along with Miller’s strong play on Friday the Ducks also received goals from five different players, including Rickard Rakell who scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season.

The Ducks have been hammered by injuries at different times this season but have still managed to clinch a playoff spot and could top the 100-point mark for the fifth year in a row with a point on Saturday. They may not be the favorites in the Western Conference going into the playoffs, but with the way they are playing right now they are not going to be an easy team to beat.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.