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Blue Jackets Face Ducks at Honda Center Tonight

Edit: Coach Randy Carlyle has decided to shake up the lineup a little bit, taking Steve Eminger out of the lineup and possibly Luca Sbisa as well. Here are what the line combinations look like right now, but keep in mind that Carlyle changed these the last game and there is never a guarantee with the coach:

FORWARDS

Joffrey Lupul     -     Ryan Getzlaf     -     Corey Perry

Bobby Ryan     -     Saku Koivu     -     Teemu Selanne

Matt Beleskey     -     Todd Marchant     -     Erik Christensen

Mike Brown     -     Petteri Nokelainen     -     George Parros

DEFENSE

Scott Niedermayer     -     Brendan Mikkelson

Ryan Whitney     -     James Wisniewski

Nick Boynton     -     Sheldon Brookbank

_

Two teams that are struggling at the moment will face off against each other tonight at Honda Center as the hot-starting Blue Jackets will take on the up-and-down Ducks at Honda Center. Both teams have injury issues and are coming off disappointing losses and will be looking for vengeance against their opponent.

The Ducks have generally fared well against Columbus but this is a different Blue Jackets team than we’ve played in the past. The Jackets have added more scoring power and finally have a solid option in net in Steve Mason. Led by superstar Rick Nash, the Jackets started the season with a 5-1 record before losing the last two in a couple of wild games. Each of those two games saw the Jackets give up six goals and lose in regulation, but they kept up their scoring numbers as they scored four and three goals, respectively.

The Ducks, meanwhile, will look to have a quick start and finally put a few goals on the board. The Ducks have been shutout twice and have not started the first period of any game without looking slow and uninterested. Head Coach Randy Carlyle has been trying to add that sense of desperation back into the Ducks’ game and I will look for the Ducks to come out hard with a big flurry of chances tonight.

The Ducks will be missing a few regulars, but so will the Blue Jackets. This should be an evenly played and very competitive game as both teams are trying to get back into the win column, so a few fights and big hits will probably be mixed in between the quick pace and quality scoring chances.

For a detailed preview, you can read the below summary from Brian Hunter at NHL.com:

BLUE JACKETS (5-3-0) at DUCKS (3-4-1)

Season Series: 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.

Big Story: 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.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets:
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.”

Ducks:
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.”

Who’s Hot:
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.

Injury Report:
Columbus defenseman Jan Hejdais 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 Poggein case Giguere couldn’t go.

Stat Pack:
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.

Puck Drop: 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.”

Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Preview

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