The road trip continues for Anaheim as the club prepares for tonight’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (4:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket, AM 830).
But they’ll have to do it without the services of their captain Ryan Getzlaf, who will miss his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury suffered during the team’s morning skate on November 8.
“Tonight's not the night for Ryan Getzlaf,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “If not tomorrow [at Carolina], hopefully Monday [at Pittsburgh]. He's getting closer."
The news doesn’t get any better for the Ducks, who are currently being hit hard by the flu bug. Goaltender Jonas Hiller couldn’t even sit on the bench during Sunday’s game against the Canucks because of illness. Then, Kyle Palmieri was scratched from Tuesday’s game with flu-like symptoms. Yesterday, Daniel Winnik missed practice because of illness, but was back on the ice this morning. And now, Corey Perry is considered a game-time decision because of illness. Perry did not skate with the team this morning. Despite missing Tuesday’s game at Florida, Palmieri confirmed he’ll be in tonight’s lineup.
“We're definitely hoping it doesn't spread any further," said Boudreau.
The Ducks (15-4-1, 31 points) will have to use every ounce of energy to come out of Tampa Bay with two points tonight. The Lightning leads the Eastern Conference with a 13-5-0 record (26 points) and have only lost twice at home this season (7-2-0). In fact, tonight’s matchup features two of the hottest teams in the league, both with eight wins over their last 10 games.
“It’s all about playing our game,” said Ben Lovejoy. “When we’re playing well, very few teams are going to beat us on a nightly basis, and we need to get back to it against a very good Tampa Bay team.”
The big news out of Tampa Bay is the loss of Steven Stamkos, who broke his right tibia in Monday’s game at Boston. Stamkos was tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby atop the scoring race with 23 points and shared the goal-scoring lead with the St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen (14) at the time of his injury. Stamkos had successful surgery on Tuesday, but no prospective timetable has been set for his return.
Though it has not yet been officially announced by the Ducks, Viktor Fasth has rejoined the team and was on the ice this morning. Fasth, along with Matt Beleskey, were sent to Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Long-Term Injury Conditioning Loans. Fasth appeared in one game for the Admirals (Nov. 13 vs. Manchester), stopping 27-of-30 shots in 35 minutes of action. Beleskey also appeared in one contest for Norfolk (Nov. 13), scoring the team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss.
Though Fasth is with the big club, Boudreau said he’ll be activated when he feels ready. Boudreau also said Beleskey will play at least one more game with Norfolk.
EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Dustin Penner-Nick Bonino-Corey Perry*
Emerson Etem-Mathieu Perreault-Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano-Daniel Winnik-Devante Smith-Pelly
Patrick Maroon-Rickard Rakell-Kyle Palmieri
Hampus Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler-Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa-Bryan Allen
*Perry is a game-time decision because of illness.
Tonight marks the first meeting between the two clubs since Feb. 21, 2012 at Tampa Bay Times Forum (3-2 Lightning win). Prior to that contest, it had been 15 months between meetings (Nov. 3, 2010). Therefore, tonight marks the second meeting in just over three years. Three of the last four contests vs. Tampa Bay have been extended to the OT frame (all Anaheim wins) dating to Nov. 19, 2009, a 4-3 OT Ducks win at Honda Center (Scott Niedermayer’s 13th and final career OT goal). The Ducks own an all-time record of 14-9-1 vs. the Lightning (7-5-0 at TB). Since the 2003-04 season, Anaheim has posted a 6-2-0 record vs. Tampa Bay.