GAME 65: BLUE JACKETS (32-27-5) AT DUCKS (31-21-12)
Location: Honda Center, 10 P.M., Friday
TV: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go (Jeff Rimer, Jody Shelley); Fox Sports West, Sportsnet 360
Radio: 97.1 FM & BlueJackets.com (Bob McElligott)
The downside of playing the second game in a back-to-back is the physical wear-and-tear built up from playing just 24 hours earlier. The upside is that is gives a team the chance to quickly recover from a stinging loss the night before.
That's the part the Blue Jackets are banking on after losing, 5-2, to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Staples Center. Columbus lost despite racing out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, allowing five unanswered goals in the next 40 minutes.
"It's absolutely the best part of this league sometimes, is you get a chance to get right back at it sometimes 24 hours later," said captain Nick Foligno, who returned from a four-game absence Thursday after a lower-body injury. "We're looking forward to another good team in Anaheim. We're looking to get off to a good start again but carrying it through the game."
That's been an ongoing issue throughout much of the season.
The Blue Jackets have developed a habit of playing strong right out of the gate, taking leads in the first periods of games and then having things fall apart in the second and third. It happened again in Los Angeles and they know it needs to be corrected quickly.
Columbus only has 18 games left in the regular season and is clinging to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets are just two points up on the Carolina Hurricanes and three in front of the Florida Panthers, after both teams picked up victories Thursday.
2017-18 Season: (1-0-0). This is the finale of the two-game season series. The Blue Jackets won the first game, 4-2, on Dec. 1 at Nationwide Arena.
All-time (W-L-T-O): 29-23-1-3 overall; 13-12-1-2 at Honda Center
Blue Jackets: Artemi Panarin has seven points in a six-game point streak (three goals, four assists), after assisting on the Jackets' first goal against the Kings on Thursday. He has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the past 11 games; Cam Atkinson has scored a goal and tallied a point in three straight games, compiling five points (three goals, two assists) in the point streak.
Ducks: Rickard Rakell had a hat trick, Ryan Getzlaf had four points (one goal, three assists) and Corey Perry had three assists in Anaheim's shootout loss to the Oilers. Getzlaf has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the past four games.
EYES ON: THE BLUE JACKETS
- Columbus will start goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who got a game off Thursday in Los Angeles after making six straight starts. Bobrovsky went 3-2-1 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in those six games and is 27-20-5 with a 2.41 GAA and .920 save percentage in 52 games this season. Bobrovsky will likely get a heavy workload in the Blue Jackets' final 18 games, with Columbus in a tight race for a playoff spot and backup Joonas Korpisalo struggling. Korpisalo, who started against the Kings on Thursday, has allowed five goals in three of his past five starts and 20 goals total in those games for a 3.97 goals-against average and .882 save percentage.
- Thomas Vanek made his Blue Jackets debut in the loss to the Kings on Thursday and it wasn't a great result. Vanek played 13:32, finished with a minus-1 plus/minus rating, had three shot attempts, one shot on goal and was unable to check Alex Iafallo on the first of two goals for the Kings' rookie. Vanek logged 2:34 of time on the power-play, where he played on the first unit in the middle of the Blue Jackets' 1-3-1 setup. Vanek started out at left wing on the second line, playing opposite captain Nick Foligno, but saw his role lessen as the game progressed. It could take the veteran winger to get acclimated to the Blue Jackets' up-tempo, North-South style.
- It will be interested to see which lineup switches, if any, Tortorella makes other than putting Bobrovsky back in net. He's got some options now after the Blue Jackets added three players prior to the trade deadline. The first player to feel the squeeze of more internal competition to get in the lineup was center Lukas Sedlak, who was scratched for just the second time this season Thursday in Los Angeles. If Sedlak draws back into the lineup, it will be interesting to see who he will replace.
EYES ON: THE DUCKS
- Anaheim hasn't played since Feb. 25 against the Edmonton Oilers a day before the NHL Trade Deadline. The Ducks are winless in their past two games but rallied to scratch out a point in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Oilers. They became the first NHL team since 2004 and eighth overall to force overtime despite trailing by two goals with 21 seconds or less left in regulation. Rakell scored both goals for his first career hat trick. It was the first time in franchise history the Ducks overcame a two-goal deficit with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.
- The Ducks used their bye week in January to their benefit. Since that break in the schedule, they've gone 12-6-3 for 27 points. During that time span, the Ducks are tied for eighth in the NHL in wins and points. Rakell leads the team in scoring since the bye with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 21 games, while he and center Adam Henrique are tied for the leads in goals with 10 each. Getzlaf has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) during that timeframe.
- Two-thirds of the Ducks' projected fourth line are former Blue Jackets. Jason Chimera, who was acquired from the New York Islanders for forward Chris Wagner in a deadline deal, played 331 games over four-plus seasons in Columbus (2005-2010). Wagner is projected to play left wing on the Ducks' fourth line against the Blue Jackets, which could be centered by Antoine Vermette, another former Jacket. Vermette played 241 games with Columbus over three-plus seasons (2008-2012).
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson
Sonny Milano - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Thomas Vanek- Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner - Mark Letestu - Matt Calvert
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - Ryan Murray
Ian Cole - David Savard
Others: Scott Harrington, Taylor Chorney, Lukas Sedlak, Markus Hannikainen, Josh Anderson (knee)
Injured reserve: Dean Kukan (upper body), Markus Nutivaara (upper body)
Rikard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase
Jason Chimera - Antoine Vermette - Derek Grant
Cam Fowler - Brandon Montour
Hampus Lindholm - Kevin Bieksa
Marcus Pettersson - Josh Manson
Others: Francois Beauchemin, Kalle Kossila, John Gibson (lower body)
Injured Reserve: Patrick Eaves (Guillain-Barré syndrome)