By Kyle Shohara
On a night when eight of nine games played were won by the road team, the Ducks came out of Nashville with a resounding 5-2 victory at Bridgestone Arena. The win gave Anaheim sole possession of first overall in the NHL standings with 74 points, two more than Nashville and St. Louis.
It was the first of a five-game road trip for the Ducks, who continue their nine-day journey tonight against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. It’ll be the second half of back to backs for both teams, who played road games last night. While the Ducks were busy taking it to the Predators in Nashville, the Capitals were in Ottawa, where they came away with a 2-1 victory. Because of this, neither team held morning skates at Verizon Center, so the question of who starts in net for Anaheim won’t be answered until game time.
Another question mark is the status of Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who aggravated a lower-body injury during pre-game warm ups last night in Nashville. Anaheim’s leading scorer traveled with the team to D.C., and is being listed as a game-time decision.
“I wouldn’t even call it doubtful, questionable,” Boudreau said after last night’s game. “It’s an ‘I don’t know.’ Wake up and see how he feels.”
Getzlaf ranks tied for sixth among league leaders in scoring, co-leads in even-strength scoring (14-25=39) and ranks tied for seventh in points per game (1.04). He’s also tied for fourth in assists, tied for third in even-strength assists (25) and tied for fourth in assists per game (.72)
Who Boudreau decides to go with in net will also remain a mystery until closer to game time. Frederik Andersen’s performance last night was masterful, stopping 44 of 46 shots for his 29th victory, which placed him into a tie with Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for the league lead. But with tonight being the second half of back to backs, Boudreau has the option of going with Ilya Bryzgalov. The veteran netminder has appeared in five games this season, going 1-3-0 with a 4.68 GAA and .832 SV%.
As for the Capitals, the club announced today that they have recalled goaltender Philipp Grubauer from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. Grubauer was 6-5-5 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 14 starts for the Capitals last season. He is 16-9-4 with a 2.03 GAA and .924 save percentage for Hershey this season, earning a selection to the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic as a replacement. The 23-year-old was drafted by Washington in the fourth round (112th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Tonight begins a two-game season series between Anaheim and Washington at the Verizon Center. The Ducks own an all-time record of 14-10-3 vs. the Capitals along with an 8-5-1 mark in the nation's capital. Anaheim earned a 3-2 victory in its last visit to the Verizon Center on Dec. 23, 2013 and has gone 6-3-1 in its last 10 games in Washington. Corey Perry has 11 points (3g/8a) in nine career games vs. the Capitals, tops among Ducks skaters. These two teams will meet again on Feb. 15 to conclude the season series at Honda Center.