By Kyle Shohara
The journey continues tonight in Boston as the Ducks look for a fourth consecutive victory on their marathon eight-game, 15-day road trip.
It’s been nearly three years since the Ducks have been in Boston (3-0 victory on Dec. 20, 2010). The Ducks have won their last two games in Boston, and have a 6-5-1 record all-time at TD Garden (10-9-5 overall).
Tonight will mark the return of winger Dustin Penner, who’s missed the last five games with a concussion suffered October 20 vs. Dallas. With the team losing players to injury seemingly on a game-by-game basis, Penner’s return is that much more important.
Yet, despite the injuries, the Ducks find themselves tied for second in the Western Conference. Head coach Bruce Boudreau attributes the team’s success to its depth.
“I don’t know, good depth would be the only answer,” he said. “We do have good depth and that’s why Norfolk has started out so well. I’ve said it before, we had 17 forwards I thought could’ve made the team this year and you can only carry 14. So the guys that have been called up are an extension. They are NHL players. There just was no room for them at the beginning of the season. So, now they’re coming in and they’re holding their own.”
In net for the second consecutive night will be Jonas Hiller, who is coming off a 26-save performance in Anaheim’s 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Hiller is 5-2-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Patrick Maroon – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Dustin Penner – Nick Bonino – Emerson Etem
Andrew Cogliano – Mathieu Perreault – Kyle Palmieri
Daniel Winnik – Peter Holland – Devante Smith-Pelly
Hampus Lindholm – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Sami Vatanen
Saku Koivu (concussion) and Viktor Fasth (lower body) are likely to stay in Anaheim for the remainder of the road trip, according to Boudreau. Teemu Selanne returned to Anaheim to have oral surgery after taking a stick to the mouth in Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. Selanne is expected to return within two weeks.
Due to a Western Conference-only schedule in 2012-13, the Ducks and Bruins meet for the first time since Mar. 25, 2012 at Honda Center. In that contest, the Ducks rallied from a 2-0 deficit and tied the game, but eventually fell to the Bruins, 3-2. The Ducks have won three of their last four meetings vs. Boston overall, including a 3-0 shutout nearly three years ago on Dec. 20, 2010 at TD Garden, the most recent contest between the two clubs to be played at Boston (Ducks have won two straight at Boston). All-time, Anaheim has posted a 10-9-5 record vs. the Bruins, including a 6-5-1 mark at TD Garden.