The Anaheim Ducks have responded well to their two worst losses this season, rebounding from each by knocking off a conference leader in their next game. Fresh off a 3-2 victory at Western Conference-best St. Louis, the Ducks will feature a new-look lineup when they continue a six-game road trip at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
The Ducks, who had lost four in a row prior to beating the Blues, made a move to bolster their injury ravaged lineup by shipping defenseman Sami Vatanen to New Jersey in exchange for centers Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and a 2018 condition third-round draft pick. “You never like to give up a guy like Sami because he’s such a competitive player and has done so many good things for us,” Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said. “It probably wasn’t easy for them to give up Adam either. Hopefully this one works out for both teams.” The Blue Jackets rebounded from a 3-1 loss at Montreal on Monday with a 3-2 shootout win over Carolina 24 hours later, the eighth victory in nine games for the Metropolitan Division leaders. Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin converted both attempts in the shootout for Columbus, which improved to a league-best 8-0-1 in games that went to overtime.
TV: 7 p.m. ET; Prime Ticket (Anaheim), FSN Ohio (Columbus), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE DUCKS (11-10-4): With leading scorer Rickard Rakell missing the last three games and top centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler each out for a length time, Murray made the move to import Henrique, who scored 20 goals last season and a career-best 30 in 2015-16. Henrique played well in New Jersey’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011-12, collecting 13 points in 24 games. “He’ll kill penalties. He can help out on the power play. Has got a really good shot. Really good release,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. “I think it’s great for us.”
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (16-8-1): Forward Josh Anderson is meshing well on the top line with Panarin and rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, scoring his ninth goal Tuesday to extend his point streak to a career-best four games. “You can see Andy is feeling it, too,” coach John Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “He thinks that he should be doing these things (and) that he needs to take it to another level. ... Because there is another level with Andy.” The power play is still sputtering, converting on 1 of 29 chances over the past dozen games.
1. Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky has not allowed more than two goals in eight consecutive starts.
2. Blandisi has eight goals and 18 assists in 68 NHL games.
3. Columbus has won three straight overall and three in a row at home against the Ducks.
PREDICTION: Blue Jackets 3, Ducks 2