Despite seeing their season-opening three-game winning streak end last night in Pittsburgh, the Ducks have a chance to get right back into the win column tonight as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. (4 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). This is the first of two meetings between the Ducks and Blue Jackets this season. They'll meet once more on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Honda Center.
Ryan Miller could get the start tonight, his first appearance of the regular season. The 39-year-old netminder appeared in a team-leading four preseason games, posting a 2-1-0 record with one shutout, a 1.42 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. In his career against Columbus, Miller is 5-3-3 with three shutouts, a 2.02 GAA and .929 SV% in 13 appearances.
"He comes in every day and works his tail off," said Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins. "It's 100 percent every day. He's a guy who's always out there extra. He's taking the extra pucks. He's been in the league for a very long time. I don't think there's anything you can throw at him that he can't handle."
A key tonight for the Ducks will be limiting the amount of penalties they take. Last night they went to the box a season-high six times, four in the second period alone. While their PK units managed to kill off five of the six infractions, the sheer number of minutes spent on the PK affected the bench.
"You're killing about seven or eight of your guys, and the rest of them are sitting there cold," Eakins said last night. "And then we come out of it, and we have guys who haven't hit the ice for four or five minutes. They're stale. The other guys are gassed. It's not a recipe for winning, that's for sure."
Despite their penalties, the Ducks come in with the league's lowest average in goals-against per game (1.25) and rank tied for fourth in PK% (92.3). They've killed 29 of 30 power-play opportunities dating to the preseason, including 12 of 13 in the regular season.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf enter tonight's contest one game shy of surpassing Corey Perry (988) for the all-time franchise lead in games played. Getzlaf co-leads with Perry ahead of Teemu Selanne (third at 966 GP), Cam Fowler (fourth at 624) and Steve Rucchin (fifth at 616). Getzlaf was selected by the Ducks in the first round (19th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Getzlaf ranks tied for sixth among active NHL scorers in points (42), fifth in assists (30) and fourth in power-play points (16) vs. Columbus, and has 12 goals in 37 career games against the Blue Jackets. The Ducks have an all-time record of 29-21-9 vs. Columbus, including a 13-12-4 mark at Nationwide Arena. They've won three straight over the Blue Jackets dating to March 2, 2018.