Ducks Radio Analyst
WASHINGTON – The Ducks will again be without prolific right wing Teemu Selanne
but expect to have second-line center Saku Koivu
back in the lineup tonight when they face the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
Selanne, who has missed the past two games and seven of the past 11 because of a recurring groin issue, skated long after most of his teammates had left the ice this morning. Selanne had said previously that he was “close” to being ready for action, but Coach Randy Carlyle ruled him out for tonight’s game.
Despite having appeared in only 26 of the team’s 33 games, Selanne ranks third among Ducks scorers with 28 points, and his 10 goals are tied for third on the club.
Koivu, who has 10 goals and 16 points in 32 games, sat out Sunday’s 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Honda Center because of a bout with the flu. Koivu did not travel with the Ducks on their Monday flight to Washington, but flew in Tuesday.
“Better, good – ready to go,” Koivu said after participating in the morning skate.
“It was pretty bad,” Koivu said. “I didn’t feel well enough on Sunday. I needed some time off. It was a good thing we had two days, the Monday, Tuesday off – long travel, but no games.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a tough one for me. I haven’t really done anything the last couple of days, but I’ll slowly get back in.”
With two consecutive victories, a 3-0-1 mark in their past four games and a 12-6-3 record since the beginning of November, the Ducks will open a five-game East Coast swing against a Capitals squad facing unprecedented struggles since Coach Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench during the 2007-08 season.
Washington is in the throes of a six-game losing streak, including a 5-4, shootout loss to visiting Toronto on Dec. 6, and is coming off a 7-0 pasting at the hands of the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
The Capitals (18-11-3) still lead the Southeast Division and are second in the Eastern Conference, but have seen their division lead over Atlanta and Tampa Bay shrink to two and three points, respectively.