Jan 29, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (7) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks Return from Road Trip, Host Columbus Blue Jackets Tonight

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Anaheim, CA – The Anaheim Ducks just wrapped up an incredible road trip. They finished the trip with a record of 5-1, including three shootout wins over the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators. Tonight, they return to Honda Center to face the seemingly always struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets have lost two in a row in their own current road trip. Losing to the Los Angeles Kings Friday night and the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

Jan 19, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) skates off the ice after the game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Blue Jackets beat the Predators in a shoot out 3-2. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

What can you say about the Columbus Blue Jackets? The franchise has just got rid of it’s General Manager that got rid of the best player the franchise has ever had and has not gotten this team out of the gutter. The struggle in nearly every statistical category. Their leading scorer is a defenseman, Fedor Tyutin. Their best players in plus/minus are Jared Boll and Tim Erixon at +4. Then again, the team only has six players above even in plus/minus. The players they received for Rick Nash were Brandon Dubinsky (hurt), Artem Anisimov (hurt), Erixon and this year’s first round draft pick. Nash currently has 3 G and 9 A for 12 P and is +9. Dubinsky has 1 G and 7 A for 8 P and is -3. Anisimov has 4 G and 2 A for 6 P and is -4. Erixon has 2 A and is +4 as I mentioned earlier.

The Jackets best young player is Ryan Johansen who had 9 G and 12 A for 21 P last season. He has struggled this season with only 2 A. He was sent down to their AHL affiliate early in February. The Jackets newly acquired goalie of Sergei Bobrovsky has been okay and inconsisten. He is 2-4-2 with a 2.86 GAA and a .898 SV %. The Jackets do have some notable names in Vinny Prospal and Jack Johnson. They also have former Duck James Wisniewski (hurt), who has played pretty well. The team just doesn’t have enough talent to be a winner right now. Forward R.J. Umberger is another notable name that’s been a nice player for the Blue Jackets, just not a guy to build a franchise around. Also, one of their more promising players is Cam Atkinson (hurt).

Offensively, they rank 28th in scoring, 2.20 goals per game. It doesn’t get much better defensively, ranking 22nd with 3.13 goals against per game. The Ducks currently lead the league in even strength goals for/goals against ratio and the Jackets are 28th. The Jackets power play is 26th at 13.6%, but their penalty kill is a bit better at 83.6%, good for 11th. Nothing ever seems to go well for this franchise. It really is sad to see a franchise struggle year in and year out and not get much better. Every other year appears to be a rebuilding year for them.

What can you say about the Anaheim Ducks? This team is just incredible. What an unbelievable turn around that continues to

Feb 8, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth (30) warms up before the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Ducks 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

happen. They gutted out some wins on this past road trip. A lot of contribution from all over the place as well. They have now had 13 different players to score a goal this season after rookie Patrick Maroon scored in Nashville. Viktor Fasth is 8-0-0, just the third goalie in NHL history to win their first eight decisions, joining former Duck Ray Emery and Bob Froese. The ageless Teemu Selanne and rejuvenated Saku Koivu continue to lead the team in scoring, 15 and 14 points respectively. Right behind them is captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is really rebounding well after the worst season of his career, and Bobby Ryan with 12 points. Meanwhile guys like Daniel Winnik, Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino are heading for career high seasons. The defense has looked good, Francois Beauchemin, Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa have been excellent. Bryan Allen has also looked good. There really isn’t too much to complain about right now with this team. Enjoy the ride! I expect a Fasth-Bobrovsky matchup in goal tonight.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Andrew Cogliano Artem Anisimov Bob Froese Bobby Ryan Brandon Dubinsky Bryan Allen Cam Atkinson Chicago Blackhawks Columbus Blue Jackets Daniel Winnik Fedor Tyutin Francois Beauchemin Jack Johnson James Wisniewski Jared Boll Los Angeles Kings Luca Sbisa Nashville Predators NHL Nick Bonino Patrick Maroon Phoenix Coyotes Ray Emery Rick Nash Ryan Getzlaf Ryan Johansen Saku Koivu Sergei Bobrovsky Sheldon Souray St. Louis Blues Teemu Selanne Tim Erixon Viktor Fasth Vinny Prospal

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