Both the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets will be trying to avoid their third straight loss when they meet Saturday night, but the Ducks seem to have much bigger problems just months after an impressive playoff run.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle indicated that there could be changes for his team as he tries to fire up a sluggish offense in the midst of a disappointing homestand.
“The things I have in mind I’d like to keep private at this point,” Carlyle said after a 4-2 loss to Dallas on Wednesday.
The coach certainly isn’t willing to settle for the results he saw in that game, when his team was outshot 16-5 in the first period and fell behind 3-0 midway through the second.
“We didn’t start playing until the third period, and that’s not acceptable in this league,” center Ryan Getzlaf(notes) said. “You’ve got 82 games, and you’ve got to learn to get up for all of them. We’ve definitely got the tools in here. Maybe we’re lacking that focus a little bit, and we’ve got to find it.”
The Ducks (3-4-1) will try to build on a solid third period during which they pulled within one goal, but they’ve managed six goals in going 1-3-0 at Honda Center.
Anaheim hopes for more production out of Getzlaf, the All-Star who finally managed his first goal of the season against Dallas.
“It’s a starting point,” Carlyle told the Ducks’ official Web site. “He had shifts in the third period that were very Getzlaf-like. That is really what we need from the opening faceoff.”
Ryan also scored five goals during the postseason as Anaheim upset top-seeded San Jose in the first round and pushed Detroit to seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.
Columbus (5-3-0) also reached the postseason - for the first time in franchise history - last spring before being swept in the first round by the Red Wings.
The Blue Jackets got off to a strong start this season with five wins in six games, but they’ll be trying to bounce back after allowing 12 goals in the first two games of a four-game road trip.
They led 4-1 at Edmonton on Thursday night but gave up five unanswered goals in a 6-4 defeat.
Steve Mason(notes) could be back in net for Columbus on Saturday after backup Mathieu Garon(notes) played against the Oilers. The league’s rookie of the year last season, Mason was 4-1-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average before allowing six goals on 22 shots in a 6-3 loss at Calgary on Tuesday.
In his only previous start at Anaheim, he stopped 27 shots to win 2-0 on Dec. 31.
It’s unclear who will be in net for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller(notes) misplayed a puck in the loss to Dallas after getting pulled from his previous start, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere(notes) has been dealing with a groin injury. Giguere is 15-2-2 with a 1.76 GAA in his last 19 appearances against the Blue Jackets.