Tonight could be the night when the Bearded One returns to the lineup.
All signs indicate it coming to fruition, as earlier today Patrick Eaves took part in the morning skate on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Eaves missed most of training camp and all of the preseason with a lower-body injury, but has taken part in full practices over the past few days. If Eaves plays, he will skate at left wing, something he has no issue with despite it being his off-wing.
Eaves says he will see how he feels later tonight when he and his teammates hit the ice for warmups. "I guess I don't really have any expectations," he said to reporters today. "I'll see how I feel tonight and go from there. Just go out there and win. I felt great coming into camp. Mentally it was a little frustrating, but we're at the end of it. It's good now."
It would be a welcome return, considering the Ducks will likely be without speedy winger Ondrej Kase tonight. Kase left the game on Monday with an upper-body injury after taking a hit up high from Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Kase did not take part in the morning skate today.
Nick Ritchie was back on the ice this morning skating alongside Antoine Vermette and Chris Wagner. Ritchie has not played since the season opener against the Arizona Coyotes last Thursday and has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.
John Gibson will likely make his fourth consecutive start tonight with Reto Berra serving as backup. Ryan Miller, still sidelined with an upper-body injury, was the third goaltender on the ice this morning, but is not expected to dress tonight.
As for the Islanders, head coach Doug Weight earlier today said there would not be any expected changes to his forward line combinations and defensive pairings. Jaroslav Halak, who is 1-0-0 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in two games thus far, will get the start for the Isles.
Projected Line Combinations
Video: Ducks look ahead to the matchup with the Islanders