NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, February 18th (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (4-9-2) at Anaheim Ducks (11-2-1), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After posting their best road trip in franchise history, the Anaheim Ducks return home seeking a fifth straight victory on Monday night as they battle the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Ducks gritted out a 3-2 shootout win at Nashville on Saturday to finish up a six-game swing with a 5-1-0 record. In terms of winning percentage, that is the best trip for Anaheim of at least five games and the club's 7-1-1 start on the road this season is also a franchise best.
The red-hot play of 30-year-old rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth was the highlight of the trip as he appeared in all six games, starting the last four with Jonas Hiller out with a lower body injury.
Fasth has allowed more than two goals in just one of his nine appearances this season and he has opened his NHL career by winning each of his first eight starts. He is the third goaltender in league history to open a career with at least eight straight wins, joining Ray Emery of Ottawa and Philadelphia's Bob Froese.
Emery holds the NHL record, winning his first nine decisions with the Senators from Jan. 8, 2003-Nov. 29, 2005.
Fasth, the starting goaltender for the Swedish national team at the 2012 World Championship and winner of two straight Honken Trophies as the Swedish Elite League's Goaltender of the Year, has certainly earned his victories. Four of them have come in a shootout, including Saturday's triumph over the Predators as he made 32 saves and stopped 2-of-3 Nashville skaters in the breakaway session.
"He's playing great and is a true professional back there," said Anaheim's Matt Beleskey about Fasth. "He works hard all the time and it's showing in the games he's in."
Beleskey and Patrick Maroon scored in regulation, with Maroon getting the first of his career, while Nick Bonino and Corey Perry scored in the shootout to lift the Ducks to their eighth victory in nine games overall.
Following the lengthy road trip, the Ducks will play two straight and four of their next five at home, where they are 4-1-0 this season.
Anaheim will mark the third stop on a six-game swing for the Blue Jackets, who have lost the first two on the trip and seven of their last nine overall.
Following a one-goal defeat in Los Angeles on Friday, Columbus was bested 5-3 in Phoenix the next night after giving up a pair of third-period goals. The Blue Jackets gave up the winner while shorthanded and allowed the Coyotes seven power-play opportunities.
"We ran out of gas and it doesn't help when you have to kill seven times," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.
Jared Boll had a goal and assisted on Derek MacKenzie's tally, while Matt Calvert also lit the lamp. Steve Mason yielded four goals on 34 shots as Columbus fell to 1-5-0 on the road this season.
The Blue Jackets, though, have won five of their last seven in Anaheim.
Already without Artem Anisimov due to a right foot injury, Brandon Dubinsky suffered a lower body injury in the second period versus the Coyotes and is not expected to play in this game. Dubinsky and Anisimov, who is questionable for Monday, were two players that Columbus received this offseason in a trade that sent Rick Nash to the New York Rangers.
In response to the Dubinsky injury, believed to be a knee ailment, Columbus recalled forward Sean Collins from the AHL. He would be making his NHL debut if he suits up for this game.
Columbus is also slated to have defenseman James Wisniewski back in the lineup after he missed the past two games. Wisniewski was back in Columbus and became a father for the first time over the weekend.
02/18 10:22:15 ET