Mighty Ducks-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (28-32-10-8) at Columbus Blue Jackets
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
Rick Nash won't get to the playoffs this season, but he could very well win
the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's most prolific goal
Nash will look to continue that quest when he leads the Columbus Blue
Jackets against the visiting Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
With the Blue Jackets all but eliminated from the playoff race a month ago,
Nash's chase for the NHL goal lead has become the focal point for the club to
rally around down the stretch.
Nash scored his 39th of the season in Columbus' 2-0 win over Minnesota on
Wednesday. He is tied with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla
for the league lead.
"Jeez, we're all trying," Nash said. "It's one of those things where I'm
here, I might as well go for it."
However, the 19-year-old left wing is surprised to be in the thick of the
"I didn't really expect it. I didn't really think I would be this close
this far in the season," said Nash, the top overall pick in the 2002 draft.
"Obviously, guys are going on streaks where they score two or three and then
they go three or four games without. It's kind of nice that Kovalchuk hasn't
run away with it and hasn't scored in a while."
Instead of working toward the defense of their Western Conference title, the
Mighty Ducks are on the outside looking in at the playoffs. They were
eliminated from postseason contention with a 3-2 loss at St. Louis on Thursday.
Jason Krog and Rob Niedermayer scored for the Mighty Ducks, who had scored a
combined 12 goals in winning their previous two games.
STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 74 points, 4th place, 22 PB, Pacific Division.
Blue Jackets - 56 points, 5th place, 45 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Sergei Fedorov, 30 goals and 63 points; Fedorov
and Vaclav Prospal, 33 assists; Garrett Burnett, 153 PIM. Blue Jackets - Nash,
39 goals and 53 points; David Vyborny, 31 assists; Jody Shelley, 228 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 24): Mighty Ducks - Power play: 17.5 percent
(52 for 297), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (282 for 334), 14th.
Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.8 percent (55 for 371), 23rd. Penalty killing:
84.3 percent (257 for 305), 16th.
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (16-29-6, 3 SO, 2.65
GAA); Martin Gerber (11-10-4, 2, 2.28). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (19-34-7, 5,
2.58); Fred Brathwaite (3-10-1, 0, 3.35).
SEASON SERIES: Even, 1-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 18; Mighty Ducks, 3-1. At Anaheim, Calif., Prospal scored
the go-ahead goal with 1:49 left in the third period and the Ducks' Cam
Severson recorded his first NHL goal.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 10-22-3-4 on the road; Blue Jackets -
16-16-4-2 at home.