By Kyle Shohara
It’ll be a game-time decision for Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who took part in the morning skate with his teammates earlier today at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Getzlaf has missed the last two games because of a lower-body injury that was aggravated during pregame warm ups at Nashville on Thursday. He skated on the top line during line rushes this morning.
“It’s not really in my nature to be conservative,” Getzlaf said. “I’ll play if I’m ready to play. I’ll be out there if it reacts properly.”
Anaheim’s leading scorer ranks second among NHL leaders in even strength scoring (14g/25a), sixth in points per game (1.04), tied for sixth in scoring (16g/36a) and tied for fourth in assists.
If Getzlaf can’t go, expect young Swedish center William Karlsson to play in his second consecutive game after being recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
Frederik Andersen is expected to make his 43rd start of the season, placing him in a tie with LA’s Jonathan Quick for fourth among league leaders in that category. Andersen is coming off a season-high 44-save performance in Anaheim’s 5-2 victory at Nashville.
“These are the types of games you look forward to,” Andersen said. “It’s about going out to play, being mentally prepared. It’s going to be a good challenge.”
Kyle Palmieri, a healthy scratch in Anaheim’s shootout loss at Washington on Friday, skated on the first line during the morning skate. The 24-year-old has four points (2g/2a) in his last six games, seven points (4g/3a) in his last 10 and 14 points (7g/7a) in his last 19 games. Overall, Palmieri has 17 points (10g/7a) in 28 games.
The Ducks will be looking to get back into the win column after suffering a 3-2 shootout loss against the Washington Capitals two nights ago at Verizon Center. Although it appeared fatigue crept into their game that night (they played the night before in Nashville and won, 5-2), the Ducks found a way to earn a point due in large part to Ilya Bryzgalov’s stout 32-save performance. Anaheim’s 75 points are still tops in the NHL as they play the third of a five-game road trip.
A quirk in the schedule has the Tampa Bay Lightning playing the Kings and Ducks on consecutive nights. Yesterday, Tampa Bay saw its franchise-record 10-game home winning streak come to an end in a 4-2 loss to Los Angeles. Sound familiar? It was Anaheim that ended Nashville’s franchise-best nine-game home winning streak on Thursday.
Ducks defenseman Eric Brewer and center Nate Thompson will face their former team for the first time since joining the Ducks. Brewer was acquired from Tampa Bay on Nov. 28 for a third-round selection in the upcoming NHL Draft. Brewer spent parts of five seasons with the Lightning, recording 56 points (10g/46a), 180 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating in 246 games. The veteran defenseman also appeared in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Tampa Bay, earning seven points (1g/6a) and 14 penalty minutes.
The Ducks acquired Thompson from the Lightning last June for fourth-round and seventh-round selections in the 2015 NHL Draft. Thompson also played parts of five seasons in Tampa, registering 75 points (36g/39a) and 111 penalty minutes in 305 games. Thompson set career highs in shorthanded goals (2), appearances (81) and plus/minus (+3) last season, and has also appeared in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, collecting four points (1g/3a) with a plus-2 rating and four penalty minutes.
Anaheim and Tampa Bay begin a two-game season series today at Amalie Arena. The Ducks are 15-10-1 vs. the Lightning all-time and 7-6-0 in Tampa. Anaheim is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games vs. Tampa Bay, including a 1-0 overtime win in the last meeting on Nov. 22, 2013 at Honda Center. Francois Beauchemin (1g/6a) and Ryan Getzlaf (3g/4a) pace the Ducks in career scoring vs. the Lightning. Anaheim and Tampa Bay will wrap up their season series on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Honda Center.
Tampa Bay’s 4-2 loss to LA yesterday was just its fourth regulation loss in 16 games (10-4-2) against Western Conference opponents.
Although held pointless yesterday, Lightning center Tyler Johnson ranks 10th in the NHL for points (51) and is tied for 10th for assists (32). Johnson has six goals and 14 points over his past 15 games and currently owns the NHL’s second-best plus/minus rating at +26.