By Kyle Shohara
|"It's going to be as tough a game as we've played. When their goalie [Sergei Bobrovsky] is playing well, as he is right now, it's going to be a tough game." -- Bruce Boudreau
The Ducks took to the ice this morning in preparation for tonight’s matchup against the surging Columbus Blue Jackets at Honda Center. The Ducks will look to bounce back from two straight losses and get closer to a second Pacific Division title. Anaheim has a six-point lead in the division with six games to go. The Jackets, meanwhile, are fighting for a playoff spot and currently are ninth in the Western Conference.
Nick Bonino and Cam Fowler took part in the entire skate, but both are ruled out for tonight’s game. Rookie Sami Vatanen figures to be in tonight’s lineup, as he was paired with Bryan Allen this morning. The 21-year-old Vatanen has played three games with the Ducks this season and 62 with Norfolk, where he was second on the team with 45 points (including nine goals).
Luca Sbisa did not take the skate and will not be in tonight’s lineup.
“He tried [the morning skate] and said ‘Not tonight,’” said head coach Bruce Boudreau, though he said Sbisa would be on the upcoming four-game road trip.
Viktor Fasth was the first netminder off the ice, an indication he’ll be between the pipes against the Blue Jackets.
‘SENSE OF URGENCY’
Boudreau: “Other teams have that sense of urgency and they’ve needed to win. No matter how much coaches preach, as a player, you know when that sense of urgency hits. I think ours is hitting now, when we’re looking at the standings and everything else. Hopefully the next six games and beyond, we can start being the consistently good team we were the first 30 games of the year.”
SOLIDIFYING LINE COMBINATIONS
Boudreau: “I’d like the last three or four games for us to have our units together. We’ve had a lot of makeshift things going on. We have guys that can play a lot of positions. I would like to have everybody, in a perfect world, confident on who they’re playing with, and going into the games knowing who they’re going to play with. Obviously in case of injury you can’t do that, but it’s something I’m cognizant of and I think it’s important now to start finalizing lines.
“We have the depth, which is good. It’s just getting everybody playing together and not moving in and out of the lineup sort of thing.”
ON THE COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Boudreau: “The situation for them is dire. They need to win. It’s a situation that I’m familiar with because my first year in Washington, we had to win the last seven games to make the playoffs on the last day. I know it can be done, and I know they believe it can be done. That makes today’s game so important, especially them coming off an emotional win. I’m sure they totally believe. It’s going to be as tough a game as we’ve played. When their goalie [Sergei Bobrovsky] is playing well, as he is right now, it’s going to be a tough game.”