A five-game homestand continues tonight as the Ducks (6-6-3, 15 points) host the Pacific Division-rival Vancouver Canucks (8-5-2, 18 points) at Honda Center. (7 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). Indulging in a bit of home cooking are the Ducks, who are in the midst of playing nine of 11 games at Honda Center.
Despite enjoying the comforts of home, it's been a bumpy ride over the past eight days. The Ducks have dropped four in a row, three of which at home, and the past two in the shootout and overtime, respectively. Anaheim is coming off 4-3 OT setback against the LA Kings two nights ago in a game that had the look and feel of one you might see in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Though forward Ondrej Kase and goaltender John Gibson left the game due to injuries, both could be options tonight against the Canucks. With that being said, it appears former Canucks netminder Ryan Miller will get the start. The 37-year-old goaltender appeared in 150 games over three full seasons with the Canucks (2014-17) and finished with a 64-68-16 record, 2.69 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and 10 shutouts. In his first season with Vancouver, Miller posted a 29-15-1 mark with six shutouts.
"There are a lot of guys on that team who I consider guys I went to battle with and guys I really liked to be around," Miller said. "There is that element that's always going to be there. The test for me is getting past some of that stuff and do what I've been trying to do since the start."
Head coach Randy Carlyle added, "It's always a benefit to feel good that you're going to have an opportunity to play against your former teams. I think it happens a lot in sports. We're looking for a performance that's motivated. There is one huge bright spot - our goaltending has been outstanding. We're thankful of that and we want to maintain that. It's going to be their job to continue to grow."
This contest opens a four-game season series between the Ducks and Canucks, and the first of two held in Anaheim. The 2017-18 season set resumes on January 2 at Rogers Arena and continues with games on March 14 at Honda Center and March 27 in Vancouver. The Ducks are 45-38-19 all-time against the Canucks including a 14-3-4 mark in the past 21 meetings. At Honda Center, the Ducks have gone 20-17-3 with points in eight of the past 10 games (6-2-2). Anaheim went 3-1-1 vs. Vancouver last season. Veteran right wing Corey Perry leads active Ducks in career scoring against the Canucks with 39 points (17g/22a) in 47 games.
The Canucks have alternated wins and losses over their past four games, which most recently featured a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday. Among the goal scorers was gritty forward Derek Dorsett, who enters the game with seven goals, tops on the team. The 30-year-old has not had seven goals or more since 2014-15 when he had seven in 79 games. Dorsett is just five goals shy of his career high (12) set in 2011-12 with the Columbus Blue Jackets (77 games). Rookie forward Brock Boeser leads the Canucks with 14 points (5g/9a) in 12 games. The 20-year-old Burnsville, Minnesota native has three goals and five points over his past three games and ranks tied for third among rookies in goals, tied for second among rookies in points and paces all rookies in points per game (1.17).