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Preview: Ducks Open Three-Game Trip in Columbus

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (6-5-2, 14 pts.) open a three-game road trip tonight vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-2, 12 pts.) at Nationwide Arena (4 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Anaheim enters tonight's action having won two straight games (2-0-0) and three of the past four (3-1-0) to climb into third place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks have also recorded standings points in seven of the past nine games (6-2-1, 13 pts.). The current trip features additional stops in Carolina tomorrow (4 p.m. PT) and Nashville on Saturday (5 p.m. PT).

This contest concludes a two-game season series between the two clubs, marking the Ducks' second such finale of 2016-17 (the Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins wrapped up their season series on November 2). The Ducks are 26-20-7 all-time against the Blue Jackets, including a 12-11-3 record in Ohio. Anaheim and Columbus first met on October 28 at Honda Center, a 4-0 victory for the Jackets. The Ducks had a season-high four-game standings point streak snapped that night as the Blue Jackets posted their first shutout at Honda Center since Oct. 5, 2007 (4-0).

Hampus Lindholm will make his long-awaited season debut tonight, as confirmed after the team's morning skate at Nationwide Arena. The 22-year-old had been practicing with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League during his ongoing contract negotiations.

Lindholm has collected 92 points (23g/69a) and a +61 rating in 236 career NHL games with the Ducks. Lindholm led Anaheim with a career-high 115 blocked shots last season, while also pacing team defensemen in goals and appearances, and ranking second in scoring. The 6-3, 205-pound defenseman also led Ducks defensemen with a +6 rating during the club's First Round series against Nashville. Since his debut season in 2013-14, Lindholm's +61 rating ranks third amongst all NHL defensemen (he's also the youngest in the top 10).

Selected by Anaheim in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Lindholm became the first Ducks defenseman to be named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2013-14. He also set a club record for the best plus/minus rating of any rookie defensemen (+29) that season.

Ryan Getzlaf's 42 points (12g/30a) in 35 career games lead current Anaheim skaters against Columbus. Tonight also marks the Nationwide Arena return of Jared Boll, who signed a two-year contract with the Ducks on July 5, 2016 after spending nine seasons with the Blue Jackets. The 30-year-old amassed 62 points (27g/35a) and 1,195 penalty minutes in 518 career games with Columbus.

The Ducks capped off their recent three-game homestand with a record-setting 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The win marked the 24th consecutive home victory over the Flames, setting an NHL record for the longest home winning streak against one opponent (Philadelphia had a 23-game home winning streak against Pittsburgh from Feb. 17, 1980 - Jan. 29, 1987). Ryan Kesler scored twice, while Andrew Cogliano and Clayton Stoner tallied goals in the victory. Jonathan Bernier stopped 25-of-26 shots to earn his first win as a Duck.

Columbus is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Saturday, 24 hours after posting double-digits in a 10-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets are led in scoring by Nick Foligno and Alex Wennberg, who both have 12 points through 10 games.

Upcoming milestones include Getzlaf one assist from surpassing Teemu Selanne (531) for the all-time franchise lead in assists, Cam Fowler one appearance from surpassing Matt Cullen (427) for ninth on the franchise's all-time games played list and Sami Vatanen one point from surpassing Ruslan Salei (105) for sole possession of eighth on the franchise's all-time scoring list for defensemen.

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