The Ducks are likely getting two key players into the lineup tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, with one of them making his season debut. After missing three games with an upper-body injury, Jakob Silfverberg appears ready to return to his familiar right wing alongside Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler on Anaheim's dominant shutdown line. The 26-year-old was one of the club's most consistent performers before the injury, which actually occurred here at Honda Center against the Avs on January 19. Silfverberg has 29 points (13g/16a) and a +13 rating in 48 games this season.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks having to watch the guys play," said Silfverberg. "The All-Star break came at a good time for me. I worked out pretty hard during the break to be ready. I feel pretty good right now."
Logan Shaw filled in admirably in Silfverberg's absence, but head coach Randy Carlyle says those are big shoes to fill. "It's not easy replacing a guy like Silvy in the lineup, but I thought Shaw went in and gave us what he's capable of doing," Carlyle said. "They were a formidable line. They weren't as good as when Silvy was in there. It's as simple as that. He has some special talent and has scored on a more consistent basis this year. It just proves to the depth of the organization that you can move people up in the those situations and not miss much of a beat."
Nate Thompson took line rushes with Shaw and Joseph Cramarossa this morning, so all signs seem to indicate the veteran center making his season debut tonight. It's been a long road to recovery for Thompson, who suffered a torn Achilles in June and came off major shoulder surgery a year prior.
"Just going to go out there and play my game and do the things that have kept me in this league for a long time," Thompson said. "I'm not going to go out and try to play outside myself. I'm going to have fun with it. Been a long time. I'm going to enjoy the moment tonight."
"He's another guy who does the little things that go unnoticed, but as teammates we notice them," said Ryan Kesler. "He's been off game sheets for a while, but we're looking forward to having him."
As for tonight's goaltending matchup, John Gibson is the expected starter for Anaheim while the Avs are countering with Calvin Pickard.
Though the Avs enter tonight's game with the lowest point total of any team in the league (28), they gave the Ducks all they could handle in the game on January 19 (2-1 Ducks win). With that being said, the Avs have won just three times over their last 20 games (3-16-1).
"Even though they're pretty low in the standings, they still have a lot of speed and skill," said Rickard Rakell. "They get you on the power play and on the rush. You have to be ready to play them."
Potential Line Combinations
Video: The Ducks look ahead to the Colorado Avalanche