A sense of urgency has lifted the Anaheim Ducks out of the Western Conference cellar and into the playoff race. Corey Perry is playing a big part, too.
Perry looks to continue his offensive surge as the Ducks try to enter the All-Star break with a three-game winning streak Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins.
After finishing with the most points in the conference last season, Anaheim (21-18-7) has been a shocking disappointment for much of 2015-16. The Ducks had the fewest points in the West following a 3-2 overtime loss at the New York Rangers on Dec. 22.
They've since gone 9-3-1, becoming a factor in the race for third place in the Pacific Division with Arizona and Vancouver.
"We're already a bit in playoff mode," center Ryan Kesler said. "We know every game is important and it's important that we get the points."
Perry has been essential to that. The right wing has nine goals with two assists over the last 14 games, including two goals to match Kesler's pair in Saturday's 4-3 win at Detroit.
"It would be great to go into the break with a nice win streak feeling good about ourselves," left wing David Perron said. "With games in hand on some teams, those are two big points for us. Having a great feeling going into the break would be nice."
Perron has one point in each of his first three games with the Ducks, who acquired him in a trade with Pittsburgh on Jan. 16. He has no points and a minus-6 rating in six straight meetings with Boston.
Perry has eight points in his last eight meetings with the Bruins (26-17-5). He had a goal in a 3-2 win at Boston on March 26, helping Anaheim improve to 6-1-1 over the last eight matchups with three straight victories.
The Bruins are also looking to enter the break hot. They've followed a 2-7-1 stretch by winning five of six games after Brett Connolly scored with 1:54 left in a 3-2 win at Philadelphia on Monday.
"I've been getting some good chances and to see that one go in such a big game is great right before the All-Star break," Connolly said.
Brad Marchand has set a personal-best with a goal in five straight games, the longest by a Bruin since Patrice Bergeron had a seven-game streak from March 18-30, 2014.
Marchand leads Boston with 20 goals, while Bergeron trails him by one after also finding the net Monday. Both, however, have struggled with the Ducks. Bergeron has just one goal in 11 matchups and Marchand has one in five.
It's unknown if Tuukka Rask will get a second straight start. He had 34 saves Monday after being scratched with an undisclosed injury prior to Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over Columbus.
Rask has a 2.02 goals-against average while winning three of his last four starts, but he's 1-3-1 with a 3.34 GAA in five against Anaheim.
Jonas Gustavsson, though, has a 3.50 GAA while going 2-1-0 versus the Ducks.
Anaheim won't have forward Shawn Horcoff, who has been suspended for 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL's performance-enhancing substances program. Horcoff says he tried an unspecified treatment last fall to speed up his recovery from an injury, and he didn't know the treatment wasn't permitted under NHL rules.