UPDATE: Tonight’s lineup will feature Nick Boynton and Brendan Mikkelson on defense, Erik Christensen in place of Andrew Ebbett, and Jonas Hiller in goal. Coach Randy Carlyle is expected to mix the wingers on lines again but keep the normal center and right-wing pairs together.
The Ducks will take on the Minnesota Wild tonight for the second time this season, but will be without injured defenseman James Wisniewski again. Wisniewski was injured in a game against Philadelphia on Saturday and is listed as week-to-week, though he spoke about his injury today.
Wisniewski characterized the play as a “dirty hit” from Daniel Briere. Wisniewski described the situation saying “He decided to finish his check while I’m lying on the ice. Well, my arms were laying straight out. Actually, he even went a little bit lower to get a little more piece of me, which to me is kind of a dirty hit.”
He continued, “I mean, there’s no need to do that when a guy is in a vulnerable spot to go ahead and finish your check. But that happened. Stuff happens. My shoulder just kind of got crunched against the boards and that was it.”
Injuries have been a problem all of Wisniewski’s career and it affected him this offseason by not landing a long-term contract. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray would have loved to give him a nice long contract, but he wanted Wisniewski to prove that he can play a full season and still produce in the NHL.
Wisniewski was doing just fine until this injury, putting up four assists and a plus-4 rating through four games. But Wisniewski doesn’t expect to be out long as he is targeting a return next Wednesday against the Dallas Stars. Wisniewski will be aided by the fact the Ducks have two days off between each game during this home stand, a true rarity that the Ducks should enjoy and take advantage of.
From John Kreiser at NHL.com:
WILD (1-3-0) at DUCKS (2-2-1)
Season series — The teams are meeting for the second time in just over a week. The Ducks blew a 3-0 third-period lead at Minnesota on Oct. 6 and lost 4-3 in overtime. It was the Wild’s third consecutive win over the Ducks.
Big story — Anaheim is coming home after a four-game Eastern trip, while the Wild is playing the third game of a five-game Western swing — they lost at Los Angeles and San Jose.
The Ducks won two of their last three — they stole a 3-2 shootout win in Philadelphia when Teemu Selanne scored two late goals in the third period and the lone tally in the shootout, but are coming off a 3-0 loss in New York in which they were thoroughly dominated.
Wild — With the exception of the third-period rally and overtime against the Ducks, little has gone right so far for new coach Todd Richards. Minnesota surrendered six goals in a loss to Los Angeles, then blew a 2-0 lead and lost 4-2 at San Jose despite getting 40 shots on goal.
“You could see it on the bench,” Richards said. “Guys were tired. They were laboring. They worked extremely hard but it’s tough when you have to shorten up your bench like that.”
Ducks — Anaheim will play its first home game since opening night and is coming off its first shutout loss of the season — a game in which they were lucky to be scoreless after two periods but surrendered three goals in the third.
“We didn’t execute to our level,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “When your hockey club is standing still making plays, it shows they are a little bit worn down. We played last night in an emotional comeback. It’s hard to recapture that.”
Who’s hot — Selanne single-handedly won the game in Philadelphia on Saturday. Goalie Jonas Hiller has won his last two starts for Anaheim, allowing just three goals. Andrew Brunette scored his team-leading third goal in the Wild’s loss at San Jose
Injury report — Clutterbuck was placed on the injured list. Sykora is doubtful. Pierre-Marc Bouchard (headaches) has missed the last couple of games. Nathan Smith and Andy Hilbert were recalled from Houston to add depth up front. Ducks forward Todd Marchant, who left Sunday’s game with an injured left side, skated at practice on Tuesday.
Stat pack — One reason the Wild has won three in a row over the Ducks: goalie Niklas Backstrom is 4-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA in six career starts against Anaheim and got the overtime win last week.
Puck drop — The Ducks need to shake off the loss to the Rangers and build on the two previous games — wins at Boston and Philadelphia. The Wild are banged up and looking at three games in four nights and a long flight to Western Canada for games at Edmonton and Vancouver before they go home.