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Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Anaheim Ducks @NHLdotcom
Blue Jackets-Mighty Ducks Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (17-29-8-4) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (20-24-8-7).

TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Following the All-Star break last season, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks began their improbable run to the Stanley Cup finals.

They hope their latest run of success is a sign of things to come.

Anaheim looks to match its season-high winning streak at three games, and win its fifth straight on home ice when it meets the Columbus Blue Jackets.

At the break last season, the Ducks were just four games above .500 with 55 points in their first 51 contests.

Anaheim, however, went on to earn 40 points in its last 31 games (18-9-2-2) to advance to the postseason. The Ducks eventually lost to the New Jersey Devils in seven games in the Cup finals.

The Ducks have struggled this season, but they're starting to get back on track. Anaheim has won three of four since the All-Star break, and four of five overall to move within nine points of eighth place in the Western Conference.

Anaheim beat Dallas 3-1 at home on Monday for its second straight win and fourth in a row at Arrowhead Pond. The Ducks last won three consecutive games from Nov. 9-12.

"Now I think we're showing what our team's made of," Anaheim forward Mike Leclerc said. "It's crunch time now, and every team is playing their hardest hockey, but we're stepping up and starting to win some games."

Columbus beat Nashville 4-2 at home on Monday to snap a two-game losing streak, and will now be trying to end a seven-game winless skid on the road (0-4-3).

The Blue Jackets have won just three of their 26 road games this season, and are winless at home since a 3-2 overtime victory over San Jose on Jan. 8.

Columbus' Rick Nash leads the NHL with 31 goals, but has gone a season-high six games without one.

Anaheim is unbeaten in its last four at home against Columbus (3-0-1).

STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 46 points, 4th place, 30 PB, Central Division. Mighty Ducks - 55 points, 4th place (tied), 17 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Nash, 31 goals and 42 points; David Vyborny and Todd Marchant, 20 assists; Jody Shelley, 166 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Sergei Fedorov, 20 goals, 29 assists and 49 points; Garrett Burnett, 98 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 16): Blue Jackets - Power play: 14.6 percent (43 for 294), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.8 percent (188 for 227), 21st. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 17.6 percent (40 for 227), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (210 for 250), 19th.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (15-24-7, 3 SO, 2.48 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (no appearances). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (10-22-4, 2, 2.72); Martin Gerber (10-9-4, 2, 2.28).

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 11; Tied, 2-2. At Anaheim, Calif., Nash scored with 5:23 left in the third period and Denis made 11 of his 41 saves in overtime to help the Blue Jackets secure the tie.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 3-17-4-2 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 13-7-6-3 at home.

Associated Press
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