The Anaheim Ducks have adjusted to life without Ryan Getzlaf for much of the early season, so they likely won’t experience much in the way of an adjustment on Wednesday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Getzlaf, who has missed five games already this season due to a lower-body injury, was placed on injured reserve after he was struck in the face by a deflected puck in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win over Carolina.
“You have no control over it. There’s no feeling sorry for yourself because there’s nobody in the league that’s going to feel sorry for you,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the Orange County Register. Toronto likely isn’t feeling sorry for anyone but itself, as the club has seen its fast start to the season slowed by scoring just seven goals during its three-game losing skid. “We can still be a lot better but we just have to get out of the little funk we’re in and continue to play a full 60 minutes,” Maples Leafs forward Auston Matthews told reporters. The reigning Calder Trophy winner has six points (three goals, three assists) during his last five games, but the Maple Leafs are 1-4-0 in that stretch after posting a 6-1-0 mark in the previous seven tilts.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Ontario, FSN West (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (7-5-0): Nazem Kadri, who has three goals in his last two games, has gashed Anaheim for eight points (six goals, two assists) in eight career encounters. While Toronto’s second-ranked offense often receives rave reviews, goaltender Frederik Andersen has been on the defensive for much of the season - and Monday’s 3-2 setback to San Jose was no exception. The 28-year-old made a season high-tying 36 saves in that encounter, marking the 10th time in 11 starts that he has faced at least 30 shots on goal.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (6-4-1): While Getzlaf will be sidelined, Anaheim received a boost with the return to practice of defenseman Kevin Bieksa as he bids to end a three-game absence due to a hand injury. Bieksa is hopeful to return to the club this week while left wing Nick Ritchie’s availability for Wednesday’s tilt is in question after he was hit with a puck early in Tuesday’s workout. Goaltender John Gibson, who has yielded two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games overall, has turned aside 55 of 60 shots to split a pair of career encounters versus Toronto.
1. Maple Leafs D Morgan Rielly has set up three goals in his last four contests to increase his team-leading assist total to nine.
2. Anaheim C Andrew Cogliano, who is a Toronto native, has answered a three-game point drought with a goal and two assists in his last three contests.
3. Maple Leafs LW James van Riemsdyk has yet to score a goal in nine career encounters versus the Ducks.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 4, Ducks 2