Things can change from now until game time, but it appears likely that Ryan Getzlaf will return to the lineup tonight against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Getzlaf has missed the past four games with a lower-body injured suffered during the New Year's Day contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he took part in the full practice yesterday at Honda Center and skated earlier today in Denver.
The Ducks managed to go 3-1 in his absence as part of a five-game homestand that saw them win four of five, the lone loss a 2-1 defeat to the Minnesota Wild. If Getzlaf plays tonight, he will likely center a line with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry - a familiar trio that has found success this season.
And like it's been for the past nine games, expect to see John Gibson between the pipes for Anaheim. Tonight's game will be his 10th consecutive start, and it comes two days removed from a 34-save blanking of the Stars - his third shutout of the season and second in his past four starts, improving his overall record this season to 16-10-7.
No one has been hotter on the Ducks than Jakob Silfverberg, who recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season and added five shots in the club's 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Silfverberg has seven points (4g/3a) in his past nine games and has 28 points (12g/16a) overall this season while also getting tasked with shutting down the opposition's best players.
"We've tried to give him an opportunity to take the next step as a player," said head coach Randy Carlyle. "He's delivered in a lot of different areas for our club. He's a role model for our younger players. This is what a pro does, and this is how he prepares himself on and off the ice."
After coming off the NHL-mandated bye week, the Avalanche enter tonight's game with a league-low 27 points through 39 games (13-25-1). Their 2-1 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on January 6 was only their fifth win all season on home ice (5-13-1) and their fourth win in the past 21 games (4-16-1). These are tough times for first-year head coach Jared Bednar, who was hired on August 25 after former head coach/vice president of hockey operations Patrick Roy abruptly resigned on August 11. Though he has players such as Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene in the lineup, the Avs rank last in the NHL in average goals scored per game (2.03).
Semyon Varlamov will make his first start since December 22. The 28-year-old goaltender had missed the past seven games with a groin issue, but used the recent time off to train and recover. Varlamov enters the game with a 6-14-0 record, 3.33 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 21 appearances this season. Calvin Pickard, who started the past seven in place of Varlamov, is 7-11-1 (3.06 GAA, .902 SV%) in 21 games.
Potential Line Combinations