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Jackets try for Southern California sweep in Anaheim

by John Kreiser

BLUE JACKETS (11-24-5) at DUCKS (11-22-6)

TV: FS-Ohio (HD); PRIME (HD)

LAST 10: Columbus 2-7-1; Anaheim 3-6-1

Season Series: The teams are meeting for the second time this season, and the first since Columbus beat the Ducks 3-1 at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 30.

Big Story: The bottom two teams in the Western Conference meet as Columbus wraps up a three-game California trip and the Ducks play the fifth of a six-game homestand.

Team Scope:

Blue Jackets: There haven't been a lot of highlights for the Jackets this season, but one of them came Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, where Curtis Sanford stopped all 31 shots he faced and Grant Clitsome scored the game's only goal in a 1-0 victory. Sixteen of the shots came during the eight L.A. power plays the Blue Jackets killed off.

The shutout was the sixth of Sanford's career, but he was happy just to get the victory.

"The big thing was just getting the win," Sanford said. "Shutouts are great but we've got a big hill to climb. Whenever we can get wins, it's huge."

Ducks: There were smiles at Saturday's practice -- and for good reason. After falling behind the New York Islanders early in the third period, the Ducks' big guns delivered three goals to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win. Bobby Ryan's spectacular shorthanded goal tied the game, Ryan Getzlaf's backhander put the Ducks ahead and Teemu Selanne added an insurance goal.

"We haven't heard our win song in a while," Ryan said. "It's a nice feeling. At the end of the day, it's two points and a starting point. Hopefully, we can string some things together here and move forward. It was definitely refreshing and like a monkey off our back."

Who's Hot: Sanford has allowed just two goals in two games during the California trip. … Ryan has five goals in Anaheim's last five games.

Injury Report: Columbus is without forwards Kristian Huselius (groin) and Mark Letestu (hand), as well as defensemen James Wisniewski (broken ankle) and Radek Martinek (concussion). … Anaheim forward George Parros didn't play Friday due to a groin injury and left Saturday's practice early. Backup goaltender Dan Ellis had to be helped off the ice at practice with a groin problem.

Stat Pack: The Blue Jackets (minus-35) and Ducks (minus-37) enter the game with the two worst goal differentials in the NHL. … The Jackets have allowed 52 third-period goals, the most in the Western Conference, and scored just 26.

Puck Drop: No one was happier after Friday's victory than Getzlaf -- the game-winner was his first goal in 12 games and was a ray of light in a season that has seen Anaheim's big line struggle to put the puck in the net.

"It was a good feeling," the Ducks' captain said. "We've been working really hard the last little bit here and trying to get results. Tonight was one of those nights where we were able to. It is a relief, but there is still a task at hand."

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