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Ducks captain Getzlaf returning vs. Blue Jackets

by Abbey Mastracco

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf will return to the lineup Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets (10 p.m. ET; FS-O, PRIME, FS-SD) after missing four games to recover from a non-emergency appendectomy.

He had surgery Oct. 28 and has been on track with meeting the necessary benchmarks in order to return. He participated fully in the morning skate Friday, centering the top line with left wing Patrick Maroon and right wing Corey Perry.

Ryan Getzlaf
Center - ANA
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 22 | +/-: -5
Getzlaf said he has some discomfort but that it's nothing severe enough to limit him on the ice.

"I don't think I've ever come back to a game where I'm not actually ready to play," Getzlaf said. "I don't expect to go out there and be limited in minutes. I just want to go out there and play."

In four games without Getzlaf, the Ducks went 2-2-0 but have won two straight since returning home from a five-game road trip.

"It's always nice to have him back," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "To have him out doesn't make our team any better."

Getzlaf said not playing during a difficult stretch was frustrating. But with the Ducks back on a winning track he's is eager to return.

"Being out [stinks]," Getzlaf said. "It's not fun at any point in the year, especially when your team is going through struggles. So I'm excited to get out there and play tonight."

Getzlaf, who watched the past two games from the locker room at Honda Center, said he's seen the Ducks trending in the right direction during his absence. He's been pleased with the way the offense generated quality scoring chances and the resolve showed in a 3-2 come-from-behind shootout win against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

"They've been doing good," Getzlaf said. "There's nothing else you can ask at a point like this in the season. We've been going through a rough patch and they need to just scratch and claw to get yourself back to playing the right way."

Getzlaf is off to his worst NHL start, with one assist in eight games.

His return comes as the Ducks lose third-line center Rickard Rakell, who left the game Wednesday in the second period because of an upper-body injury. Harry Zolnierczyk was recalled Friday from San Diego of the American Hockey League. In eight AHL games, he has two goals and one assist. He had zero points in two games with the New York Islanders last season.

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