Ryan Getzlaf was not among the 10 forwards on the ice this morning for an optional skate at Honda Center, and afterward head coach Randy Carlyle confirmed the captain will not play in tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings. Getzlaf suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers and has not skated for the past three days, including today.
Carlyle says Getzlaf's status remains day to day and doesn't expect the injury to keep him out long term. After tonight, the Ducks will host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
His absence means the forward lines the Ducks practiced with yesterday should carry over into tonight's game. Rickard Rakell will likely return to center with Joseph Cramarossa and Corey Perry as his wings, while Antoine Vermette centers a line with Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase - a trio we've seen before. Anaheim's top line will remain unchanged while the fourth line is likely to have right-handed shooting Logan Shaw on his off-wing with Chris Wagner and Jared Boll.
Tonight's starting goaltenders are expected to be John Gibson for Anaheim and Petr Mrazek for Detroit.
Rakell says he and his teammates won't forget the way in which they lost in the first meeting of the season. The Ducks blew two separate two-goal leads (2-0 and 3-1, respectively) and ultimately lost 6-4 in a game they controlled for the better part of the first period. Games are won with 60-minute efforts though, and the Ducks learned that the hard way.
"We need to stay motivated knowing what they did to us last game," Rakell said. "They out-battled us pretty good in our end. We had a two-goal lead twice and couldn't shut them down. You always want to play your best. Like the rest of our team, you focus on doing whatever you can to help the team."
Although Carlyle wouldn't confirm his roster tonight, it appears Brandon Montour will draw back in the lineup. Carlyle says the 22-year-old "hasn't disappointed us" in his first two NHL games, which occurred last week on the road against the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Montour was a healthy scratch in the game on Sunday, but worked extensively on the second power-play unit alongside Hampus Lindholm yesterday in practice.
"Off the performance we had the other night, and him eager and ready to go, he's earned an opportunity to play with our hockey club," said Carlyle. "When we choose to use him is another decision we make on a day-to-day basis. We've always stated you can't bring a hockey player that's played on the first line in the American Hockey League and put him on the fourth unit in the NHL. He's got to be put in situations where he can have success."
With that being said, we'll see if he's paired with Cam Fowler tonight like he was in his NHL debut in Calgary. That is, if he plays.
On the Wings
The Red Wings got into town on Monday night and rolled out a rather interesting and unconventional power-play unit in practice yesterday. According to DetroitRedWings.com, head coach Jeff Blashill opted for five forwards on the second unit - Gustav Nyquist, Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Thomas Vanek and Andreas Athanasiou. It'll be interesting to see if they do in fact roll five forwards if they get the opportunity tonight. The first unit included Steve Ott, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg, Anthony Mantha and Niklas Kronwall.
"You give those guys space and they can make plays," said Josh Manson. "They have the players that can do that, and they made us pay in the last game. So we'll need to stay above them in the neutral zone. We can't let them wind it up."
Defensemen Mike Green (upper body) and Alexey Marchenko (shoulder) won't play tonight, and neither will Justin Abdelkader (knee) or Darren Helm (shoulder). Green's last appearance came in the game against Anaheim, but it was a hit from Ryan Kesler late in the game that has kept him out of the lineup.
Keep an eye on Mantha. Don't worry, you can't miss him when he's on the ice. The talented rookie stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 221 pounds, and enters tonight's game playing the best hockey of his young career. The 22-year-old was Detroit's best player in the recent Centennial Classic outdoor game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, finishing the contest with two goals and a career-best three points. Mantha enters tonight's game riding a six-game point streak (4g/3a).
It's not too often you see a player of his size blessed with silky-smooth puck-handling skills, but Mantha's hands - and reach - not to mention his skating ability and strength, make him all the more dangerous when he's with the puck. He's got a good shot and a quick release, too, and he's not afraid to use it. He'll likely skate on the top line alongside Zetterberg tonight.
Potential Line Combinations