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Jackets continue road trip by taking on Ducks

by Brian Hunter
BLUE JACKETS (20-17-3) at DUCKS (21-18-4)


Last 10:
Columbus 4-6-0; Anaheim 5-5-0

Season series:
Third of four meetings this season. Columbus is off to a fast start, winning 3-1 at home on Oct. 20 behind a pair of goals from captain Rick Nash, then claiming a 4-3 victory in Anaheim on Nov. 19 as Steve Mason stopped 47 shots.

Big story:
The Ducks won't have top center Ryan Getzlaf for this game or any on the upcoming schedule -- it was announced Wednesday he'll miss 4-6 weeks letting several nasal fractures heal after a puck deflected up into his face during a game against the Coyotes on Dec. 28.

"It was pretty scary for the first few days after (getting hit), and after the first CT scan," said Getzlaf, who was relieved to find out he won't need surgery. "We weren't really sure what exactly was wrong. There were a lot of different fractures and stuff going on up there."

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets:
The calendar change hasn't agreed with Columbus so far -- after concluding 2010 with three straight wins, the Blue Jackets have dropped their first two games on the new year. This is the third stop on a four-game road trip that so far has featured losses in Nashville and Phoenix. RJ Umberger and Jakub Voracek rallied the Jackets from a 2-0 deficit against the Coyotes, but Shane Doan and Vernon Fiddler scored 52 seconds apart in the third period for a 4-2 final.

"We got the power-play goal and it felt like we were on the cusp of taking the lead," Umberger said of Voracek's tally. "But then they got a redirect goal."

Ducks: Halfway through a six-game homestand, Anaheim has won two of the first three at Honda Center. The Ducks had a chance to win their fourth in a row overall when the Predators visited on Wednesday, but Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside 40 shots. Saku Koivu was the only Duck to break through, midway through the third period of a 4-1 defeat.

"Yeah we worked, but we just weren't hungry enough or desperate to get in the areas to get those loose pucks and rebounds," Koivu said. "We weren't able to create a lot of top quality scoring chances. We didn't get enough traffic in front of their goaltender. The goalies are too good nowadays, so you are not going to score too many goals from outside shots."

Who's hot:
Umberger has a goal in four straight games for the Blue Jackets and 6 goals in his last seven. Nash has 1 goal and 5 assists in his last five games. … Koivu has 1 goal and 4 assists in his last four games for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last four starts.

Injury report:
Columbus has placed forward Ethan Moreau (ribs) on injured reserve. … In addition to Getzlaf, forward Jason Blake (shoulder) is day-to-day, while forward Aaron Voros (broken orbital bone) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack:
These teams combine to place three players in the NHL's top 15 in penalty minutes: the Blue Jackets' Jared Boll (103) is fourth and Derek Dorsett (82) is 15th, while the Ducks' George Parros (91) is 10th. The trio does more than just pile up the PIMs, however, as Boll, Dorsett and Parros have amassed 8 goals and 18 points between them.

Puck drop:
Earlier in the week, Anaheim acquired defenseman Nate Guenin from Columbus in exchange for center Trevor Smith. The 28-year-old Guenin has 2 assists in 17 career games over parts of five seasons with the Flyers, Penguins and Blue Jackets. The 25-year-old Smith scored 1 goal while playing in seven games for the Islanders two seasons ago.

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