Ducks vs. Blue Jackets Preview
BLUE JACKETS (5-3-0) at DUCKS (3-4-1)
First of four meetings this season. Anaheim won three of four during the 2008-09 campaign, although Columbus goalie Steve Mason earned one of his League-leading 10 shutouts with a 27-save effort in a 2-0 road win on New Year's Eve. Ryan Getzlaf
led the way for the Ducks with three goals.
Both teams enter looking to right the ship -- a franchise-best start for the Blue Jackets has been tempered by consecutive defeats in which they gave up six goals in each game, while the Ducks have dropped two straight at home, getting outscored 9-2 in the process.
Western Canada wasn't kind to Columbus, which fell 6-3 in Calgary and 6-4 in Edmonton. The Jackets were up 4-1 early and carried a one-goal lead into the third period against the Oilers, but couldn't hold it. Now they give California a shot, with the stop in Anaheim to be followed by one in Los Angeles before the team heads home.
"We really shot ourselves in the foot," captain Rick Nash said. "We had that game, up 4-1 on the road. We should definitely have won that. Our power play wasn't very good. We have to get over this one quick. We'll move on. It's a long season."
An uneven start to the season finally got the best of coach Randy Carlyle, who reacted with more than a little frustration following Anaheim's 4-2 home loss to Dallas.
"The things I have in mind I'd like to keep private at this point," Carlyle said. "I don't think it's the time to talk about those things. I'm still frustrated and not very happy about the outcome of the hockey game and the way we played.
"We didn't compete hard enough to give ourselves enough of a chance. You can't play 20 minutes of hockey and win in the NHL. We were down 3-0 in our building until the third period. We played with some desperation, but you have to play with some desperation from the opening faceoff."
Jakub Voracek assisted on both of Kristian Huselius' goals against the Oilers and had a power-play goal in each of his two previous games for the Blue Jackets.
Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda is out long term with a sprained left knee, while defenseman Mike Commodore was activated off injured reserve prior to the Edmonton game but didn't play. He is coming back from a groin injury.
Anaheim center Ryan Carter
missed the Dallas game after getting hit in the foot with a shot during the morning skate. Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere has a strained groin but still dressed as Jonas Hiller
's backup against the Stars. The team recalled Justin Pogge in case Giguere couldn't go.
After posting an 80-25-18 record at the Honda Center from 2005-08, Anaheim is just 21-21-3 on home ice since the beginning of last season.
The Ducks appeared ready to move forward after practicing on Thursday.
"Today was a lot better," Getzlaf said. "We had a meeting before we went out there. The fact is, things have to change. That is the main thing. We have to be focused at practice and we’ll take it into the games from there."
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com