GAME DAY: vs. Anaheim
Tonight’s game is the fourth and final game this season between the Blue Jackets and Ducks
WATCH: FOX Sports Ohio (HD) | LISTEN: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com
|One element that permeates tonight’s game between the Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks is familiarity – these two clubs faced off nine days ago at Honda Center, and Columbus came away with a 3-2 overtime victory in a game that was nothing short of spirited.
There’s no love lost between the teams, and with the Ducks trying to make a push up the standings and creep into the playoff picture, this game will be no different than last night’s 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Anaheim needs this game (and most every game down the stretch, for that matter) to become a factor in the postseason chase and the Ducks are sure to come out motivated tonight at Nationwide Arena.
In their last meeting, the Ducks were outplayed in the third period and overtime by the Blue Jackets after building a 2-1 lead on Teemu Selanne’s power-play goal late in the middle frame. Jeff Carter tied the game early in the third with Columbus on the power play, one-touching a backhander behind Jonas Hiller off a nice feed from Antoine Vermette. Derick Brassard’ s rocket slap shot ended the game at 3:55 of overtime, finishing a play he started with a steal from Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler in the neutral zone.
But that game is in the past and the Blue Jackets are going to see a desperate team yet again – something that isn’t likely to change as the season winds down and teams have to leap frog others for playoff seeding. After a strong performance by Steve Mason last night at Xcel Energy Center in which he made 34 saves, interim head coach Todd Richards will have a decision to make as Curtis Sanford recovers from an upper-body injury: does he go back with Mason, even if Sanford is deemed fit to play?
On the other side of the ice, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is sure to go with Jonas Hiller. The Swiss netminder is 9-2-1 in his last 12 starts overall.