By Matthew Garcia
Tonight the Anaheim Ducks are in Columbus, OH to kick off a three-game road trip against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anaheim is also on the front end of back to back games and is playing their final meeting this season between the two clubs. In the first meeting, the Blue Jackets shut out the Ducks 4-0 behind stellar goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky who stopped all 35 shots the Ducks sent his way and got two goals each from forwards Brandon Saad and Sam Gagner.
If the Ducks are to split the season series with the Jackets they will need to do a much better job defensively, and really put pressure on the Blue Jackets defense as they are going to be without the services of Seth Jones for three weeks due to a hairline fracture in his right foot. Jones who has three goals, six points, and a Blue Jackets high of 24:00 of time on ice through 10 games. Anaheim will need to come with the high octane offense that we know they’re capable of and will be looking for Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler to be major factors as all three of them are coming off big games against Calgary. Anaheim’s depth scoring has been fantastic so far this season as well. In recent games, we have seen goals come from players like Andrew Cogliano (who leads the team in goals with 5) and Antoine Vermette who has two goals in the last four games. Rickard Rakell has also been getting into the mix of things as he has 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in his first four games this season.
With Columbus being 5-1-2 in their last eight few games it’s more likely John Gibson will be in net tonight going against the hotter team and Bernier to the start against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow evening. Columbus lost their last game to St. Louis 2-1 in overtime, but the night before they blew out Montreal 10-0. The Ducks will look to slow down the Blue Jackets, who dropped four goals on them in their first meeting.
Hampus Lindholm flew into Columbus and practiced with the team yesterday. It is not certain if he will play tonight or not against the Blue Jackets. Randy Carlyle could wait to play him until tomorrow given the back-to-back situation.
Anaheim Projected Lineup
Columbus Projected Lineup
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