Tonight the Anaheim Ducks host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a match that is sure to be high scoring. In the last five games the Ducks have posted 12 goals. The Ducks are 40-12-5 with 85 points and they are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. The Ducks are maintaining first place in the Pacific Division by nine points over the Sharks. Frederik Andersen gets the nod to start in tonight’s game. Andersen in 14-2 this season with 1.94 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Points totals haven’t changed after being shut out by the Stars. Corey Perry has posted four goals and six assists in his last nine games and he will need to add to that tonight if the Ducks want to win. Tonight the Ducks will need to see Ben Lovejoy maintain his edge and finish his checks, he leads the team with 142 hits thus far. With Mark Fistric presumably out and Nick Bonino definitely out, the Ducks will be looking for Dave Steckel, 14 hits in 5 games, to keep the physicality side of his game strong. Sami Vatanen returns to the line-up after being recalled from a very short stint in Norfolk. The top three shot blockers on the team are Francois Beauchamin with 105, Lovejoy with 103, and Cam Fowler with 100. Look for those numbers to increase tonight.
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter tonight’s game with a record of 28-23-4 for a total of 60 points. They are third in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the New York Rangers and even in points with the Philadelphia Flyers. They are in the thick of the Metropolitan dogfight and they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have netted 15 goals in their last five games. Sergei Bobrovsky is between the pipes tonight for the Blue Jackets. With a 19-13-2 record, Bobrovsky has done well for his team. He has .916 save percentage and 2.65 goals against average. In the last two games, Bobrovsky faced 68 shots and allowed only 3 goals. Ryan Johansen leads the Blue Jackets with 22 goals and 42 points and three goals in the last two games. Brandon Dubinsky has 12 goals for 36 points and James Wisniewski rounds out the top three in points with 28 assists for 33 points. The Blue Jackets have a handful of other players fully capable of scoring goals at any moment. The Blue Jackets are a physical team with six players over 100 hits. From the top you have Dubinsky with 147, Nick Foligno with 146, Derek MacKenzie with 143, Boone Jenner and Blake Comeau each have 132, and Jack Johnson with 123. The latter being the quiet unassuming type. The Blue Jackets leave most of the shot blocking to their goalies, but Johnson and Ryan Murray have 88 and 85 respectively. The Blue Jackets are without some of their top players; Jared Boll, Marian Gaborik, and Jack Skille are all on injured reserve while Comeau is questionable after being out the last two games.
Look for this game to have a fast pace and a fair amount of penalties. The time zone changes may give the Ducks a slight edge, but if both teams play their “A” game, this will be one heck of a battle.