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Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Ducks

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

             BLUE JACKETS (5-5-0) vs. DUCKS (8-3-0)

After a dramatic win over the Maple Leafs on Friday night, the Blue Jackets didn't get the best news on the injury front on Saturday morning. 

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards updated the media following a brief Saturday practice at Nationwide Arena: both Boone Jenner and Derek MacKenzie are dealing with lower body injuries and both could potentially miss Sunday's game against the Anaheim Ducks. Richards said Jenner will be re-evaluated in the coming days, but the initial prognosis is that he will miss "some time." 

As for MacKenzie, Richards sounded a bit more optimistic and deemed him day-to-day. Nothing is set in stone, but it's possible that MacKenzie could play on Sunday. As a precaution, the Blue Jackets recalled Michael Chaput from Springfield (AHL) to bring the NHL roster to its 23-player capacity.

Two teams playing very well will get together on Sunday afternoon in Columbus, and they're doing it in a variety of ways. 

The Blue Jackets, who broke out of a four-game losing streak to start the three-game win streak they're currently on, have worn down opponents and been opportunistic (much like they were last season) in victories over Vancouver, New Jersey and most recently Toronto.

And who would have thought that a 37-save performance from Curtis McElhinney - his first NHL appearance since Dec. 31, 2011 - would be the shot in the arm that the Blue Jackets needed? It's certainly looking that way, but the challenge now is to continue to take care of business at home.

With Anaheim in town, there's not much homework that needs to be done. The Blue Jackets know them well from spending their last 12 years in the Western Conference and whenever they get together with the Ducks, it has been a spirited and combative affair.

They met for two intense match-ups with playoff spots on the line last spring (one in Columbus, the other in Anaheim) and the Blue Jackets earned a pair of overtime victories that were as impeccably-timed as they were exciting.

Now the page has turned and it's a new season. One thing hasn't changed, and that's the Ducks playing a high-tempo and "attack" style of game under coach Bruce Boudreau.

The Blue Jackets had a well thought-out game plan for the Ducks last season and it started with defending (no surprise here); Columbus wanted to make Anaheim's top players skate as much as possible without the puck and come 200 feet up the ice to generate any chances. 


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