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Struggling Ducks visit slumping Blue Jackets

by John Kreiser /

DUCKS (5-4-1) at BLUE JACKETS (1-9-1)


LAST 10: Anaheim 5-4-1; Columbus 1-8-1

Season Series:
The Western Conference rivals are meeting for the first of four times this season. They split four games last season, with Columbus winning the first two and Anaheim the last two.

Big Story: Talk about two teams that are struggling to score: Anaheim has managed just three goals on 36 shots on goal in its last two games, while Columbus got its usual offensive output -- two goals -- in Saturday's 5-2 loss at Chicago. The Jackets, 30th in the overall standings, have scored twice in nine of their 11 games.

Team Scope:

For a team with some of the biggest guns in the lead, the Ducks continue to struggle to pull the trigger. They've lost two of three games on their current road trip and were shackled in Nashville on Saturday, losing 3-0 and managing only 20 shots on goal.

Anaheim is 1-1-1 on its seven-game trip

Blue Jackets: The Jackets continue to find ways to lose. They scored late in the second period to get even at 2-2 after 40 minutes, then surrendered two goals by Viktor Stalberg and an empty-netter for a 5-2 loss at Chicago on Saturday.

Columbus has been close in almost all of its nine losses -- but can't seem to get the big goal when it matters.

"I think it's close to seven games now we've been tied 2-2," coach Scott Arniel said. "This one tonight, going into the third period they were giving up just as many chances as we were and at the end of the day we made mistakes. Two mistakes quickly in the third period cost us the hockey game."

Who's Hot: Though he and his teammates were held scoreless on Saturday, Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf is 4-1-5 in his last four games. … Vinny Prospal, signed as a free agent by the Jackets this summer, has goals in back-to-back games and is tied for the team lead with 10 points.

Injury Report: Anaheim is still without forward Jason Blake, who's still recovering from a severe wrist laceration. .. Columbus' lengthy list of injuries includes defensemen Marc Methot (broken thumb) and Radek Martinek (concussion), forwards Kristian Huselius (pectoral surgery), Jared Boll (broken thumb) and Jeff Carter (broken foot) and goaltenders Mark Dekanich (ankle) and Curtis Sanford (groin).

Stat Pack: Anaheim is 8-2-1 in its last 11 visits to Nationwide Arena. … This might be a good time for Anaheim to play backup goaltender Dan Ellis. Not only did Jonas Hiller play both Thursday and Saturday, but Ellis has five wins and a shootout loss in six career decisions against Columbus.

Puck Drop: The Jackets are entering a home-heavy portion of their schedule, and they've got to put some W's on the board in order to avoid sinking too far out of the playoff race. A team like the Ducks, playing its third game in four nights on the road, is the kind of team they have to beat.

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