- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Anaheim Ducks closed in on a division title that doesn’t really interest them with a blowout victory that meant little because the Chicago Blackhawks rested several star players.

Yep, the postseason can’t get here soon enough for the Ducks and the Blackhawks, who wouldn’t mind meeting again when something important is at stake in the Western Conference finals.

Corey Perry scored a power-play goal, John Gibson made 37 saves in his 12th career shutout and the Ducks clinched home-ice advantage in the first round with a 4-0 victory Thursday night.

Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who moved to the brink of their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title in a meeting of the conference’s two division leaders.

Another banner for the rafters would be nice, but it’s not exactly a priority. The Ducks have been good for long enough to know they’ll be unsatisfied without a Stanley Cup title.

“We already made the playoffs,” Ryan Kesler said. “That was the only (regular-season) goal this team had. Everything else is just a bonus. For us, we’re playing really good hockey right now, and we continued that tonight.”

At least Anaheim’s fans had one eye on the scoreboard in San Jose, where the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers jockeyed for second place in the Pacific. The Oilers won 4-2 to remain four points behind the Ducks with a mathematical shot at the title, but Anaheim’s victory over Chicago clinched a top-two finish and home ice in at least the first round.

The Oilers will win the division only if they sweep their final two regular-season games against Vancouver and the Ducks lose their finale against Los Angeles in regulation on Sunday.

Chris Wagner and Kesler also scored for Anaheim, which has earned points in 13 consecutive games since March 10 (10-0-3) - one more accomplishment that doesn’t mean much to the Ducks.

“It’s a feel-good story, but when the first game of the playoffs starts, it means nothing because everybody goes back to zero,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “You feel better about your group, but there is going to be another intensity coming.”

With the best record in the West already sewed up, the Central Division champion Blackhawks rested captain Jonathan Toews, forwards Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov and defensemen Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

“We always play to win, and I thought for the most part, a lot of guys had some good shifts in here,” Patrick Kane said. “We had chances to score. It would have been nice to capitalize on a few … but that’s a good team. I think they were playing for first place tonight, so it’s a big game for them, too.”

Corey Crawford stopped 22 shots in Chicago’s third straight loss. The Blackhawks are no strangers to meaningless late-season games, but Kane and coach Joel Quenneville both said they know how to ramp up for the postseason when it’s time.

“In the past, we’ve played in this situation before,” Quenneville said. “Playing for keeps is what our team likes to do.”

The Ducks played without injured defensemen Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. Fowler will miss at least the start of the playoffs after an unpenalized knee-on-knee hit from Calgary captain Mark Giordano on Tuesday, while Lindholm could return this weekend from an unspecified upper-body injury.

Gibson made several outstanding stops in his first back-to-back starts since mid-February, appearing to be fully recovered from his nagging injuries. The shutout was his sixth of the season.

“I didn’t forget how to play,” Gibson said. “I just got hurt. Sometimes I think people might think you kind of lose it or something, but you put in a lot of work when you’re hurt to make sure you don’t miss a step.”

These teams’ unfriendly rivalry also got two new points of conversation.

Perry got a minor penalty and drew the Blackhawks’ ire when he slashed Ryan Hartman after the whistle late in the first period. Ducks forward Nick Ritchie then got a match penalty in the third for his one-punch knockdown of Michal Roszival, who had just cross-checked Perry behind the Chicago net.

Defenseman Jaycob Megna made his NHL debut for the Ducks. The Chicago-area product has scored 44 points and leads the AHL with a plus-55 rating this season for the Ducks’ top affiliate in San Diego.

NOTES: Ducks C Nate Thompson sat out with an upper-body injury. … The Canucks were the last NHL team to win five consecutive division titles, dominating the Northwest Division from 2009-13 before NHL realignment put Vancouver in the Pacific. … Megna, the younger brother of Vancouver forward Jayson Megna, was a seventh-round pick in 2012.

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: At Kings on Saturday.

Ducks Host Kings on Sunday.

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