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Reply To: NHL • Wednesday Service Plays • 12/2/15

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Preview: Tampa Bay at Anaheim

When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California

The Anaheim Ducks showed glimpses of their 2014-15 form in November and look to build off that when the new month begins Wednesday with a visit from the injury-plagued Tampa Bay Lightning. The Ducks, who came within one victory of the Stanley Cup Final last season, finished 8-4-3 last month after a baffling 1-7-2 start.

Anaheim is 2-1-1 since a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Nov. 21, thanks to Monday’s solid 4-0 victory over Vancouver, and has four contests remaining on its six-game homestand. “If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to get in the playoffs,” Ducks center Ryan Kesler told reporters. “It’s only a matter of time. This team is too good not to be in the playoffs.” The Lightning, who were a preseason pick by many experts to win the Eastern Conference again, have dropped two in a row after appearing to get things rolling with a 4-1-1 stretch as they start a three-game Western road trip. “We’re a .500 team,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos told reporters. “That’s not good enough in this league.”

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN West (Anaheim)

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (11-11-3): Centers Tyler Johnson (undisclosed) and Cedric Paquette (upper body), along with left wing Ondrej Palat (lower body), are not expected to play, but Tampa Bay could get back skillful left wing Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed) on Wednesday. Stamkos leads the team with 11 goals and 19 points, but the Lightning need more from gritty forward Ryan Callahan, who has notched only two assists in his last 11 games. Tampa Bay allowed five power-play goals over its last two games and is just 2-for-20 with the man advantage in the past seven contests.

ABOUT THE DUCKS (9-11-5): Anaheim has recorded 13 goals in four games since getting blanked at Tampa Bay, receiving offense from a variety of players. Leading scorer Corey Perry (eight goals, nine assists) and defenseman Sami Vatanen each has notched five points in the four games while captain Ryan Getzlaf has collected seven assists in the same span. Former second-round pick John Gibson (2-1-1, 1.82 goals-against average, .936 save percentage) has performed well since being recalled and likely will make his fourth straight start with Frederik Andersen (flu) still questionable.

OVERTIME

1. The Lightning have led after the first period in only three of their 25 games this season and lost one of those contests.

2. Kesler has recorded at least a point in four straight games, his longest streak of the season, and went 15-8 in the faceoff circles Monday.

3. Tampa Bay has won three straight in the series and five of the last six, including a 4-1 triumph at Anaheim last season.

PREDICTION: Ducks 4, Lightning 2