Blue Jackets-Ducks Preview
The Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks are postseason bound, but they'll need to start scoring more if they want to make a deep run.
Doing so against the Columbus Blue Jackets could be difficult if Sergei Bobrovsky, who has carried them into playoff contention, is in net.
Having scored one goal each time in losing its last two, well-rested Anaheim takes on a Blue Jackets team looking to match a season-best five-game winning streak Wednesday night.
The Ducks (27-10-5) are in second place in the West, but they have to make sure they hold off Los Angeles in the division race. A good way to do so would be to generate more offense, as they've scored 25 times in a 5-7-1 stretch.
Ryan Getzlaf provided a short-handed goal Saturday, but Anaheim fell 2-1 to the Kings.
"Nobody is scoring any goals," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Just look at the numbers of guys that haven't scored in a long time now.''
That doesn't bode well if Bobrovsky starts. The NHL's first start of the week has posted a 1.58 goals-against average while playing all but one game of the Blue Jackets' 7-2-0 stretch.
He made 29 saves, including one on Gabriel Landeskog's short-handed breakaway, in a 4-3 overtime victory at Colorado on Monday.
"That's what Bob does," left wing Nick Foligno told the league's official website. "I mean, he's the MVP of this team. I don't think there's any doubt about that. He makes huge saves and you need that. He's stepping up and doing that, and we're happy to get him some goals and get him some wins."
The Blue Jackets need both as they battle several teams for a playoff spot. Monday's victory pulled Columbus even with Detroit for the eighth seed, though the Red Wings have a game in hand.
The Blue Jackets, chasing the second playoff appearance in their 12-year history, have come a long way since being at the bottom of the NHL standings Feb. 25 with a 5-12-2 record. Columbus has gone 15-4-5 since.
"We're finding ways,'' coach Todd Richards said. "That's what you have to do this time of year."
The Blue Jackets haven't done that much in Anaheim, where they've dropped three of four following a 3-2 loss Feb. 18 in their only visit this season.
Columbus, though, is in position to win the season series for the first time since 2009-10 after Mark Letestu set up a goal by the now-departed Derick Brassard and scored in overtime of a 2-1 victory March 31.
The Blue Jackets will be without defenseman Adrian Aucoin on Wednesday after he left Monday's game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The club called up David Savard from the AHL as a replacement.
It's uncertain if Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler will miss a second consecutive game with an upper-body injury.
The Blue Jackets, 2-0-0 on their six-game trip, haven't won three in a row away from Columbus since a team-best six-game run Jan. 19-Feb. 18, 2011.
Anaheim has dropped five of eight at home since winning a franchise-best 13 straight there Jan. 26-March 20.