The Columbus Blue Jackets head to Anaheim tonight as they play the first of three west coast games leading up to the Olympic break. It should be a good game, as Anaheim is 6-4-0 in their last ten, and the Jackets are 7-3-0 in their last 10. The last time these two teams met was a 4-3 decision in favor of the Ducks at Nationwide Arena on October 27. In that game, the Ducks’ second-highest point getter, Corey Perry, scored a late 3rd period goal to win the game by one. This game is the second of three meetings between these teams this season, and the Jackets will be looking to ride the momentum from their last two wins to tie up the series tonight in Anaheim.
The Ducks sit atop their division, conference, and the league with 85 points, and are by far the best team in the league this season. The Jackets are holding on to the third spot in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points, but the Philadelphia Flyers are tied at 60 also. The final wild card spot in the East is held by Detroit, and they have, yep you guessed it, 60 points. It’s a tight race, so the Jackets need a win tonight to put some distance between them and their competitors, and hold on to that crucial third spot in the division. Here are some stats going in to the game tonight:
|60||28-23-4||Ryan Johansen, 42 points||163/154||18.4||81.0|| |
|Ducks||85||40-12-5||Ryan Getzlaf, 63 points||189/185||18.6||82.8|| |
In related news, Tim Erixon was recalled from Springfield yesterday, and he will join the Jackets for the game tonight in Anaheim.
Erixon has played two games for the Jackets this season and amounted 28:41 TOI in those two. Many fans think the Jackets management have mishandled Erixon’s talent this season, and many are happy to see him back in the lineup. The biggest question is how much ice time he will see on the Jackets’ blue line tonight.
Coming in to tonight’s game, the Jackets are coming off two big wins against Washington and Florida, but the Ducks are coming off their first shutout loss since March 27, 2013. The Jackets are in need of a big win tonight, so taking on the best team in the league will certainly be the perfect framework for a big time game. Big time games mean big time wins, or, unfortunately, big time losses. Whatever the outcome of the game, it will affect the Jackets’ momentum. A big win against the Ducks would definitely improve team morale, and help the Jackets in the standings as well. However, a loss would put their third place spot in peril, and probably have a negative affect on the bench. Coming off of two big wins is great, but a third win would help push the team even further. Here’s to a good game!