NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 29th (All times eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (45-20-12) at Columbus Blue Jackets (32-37-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets will try to match a season high for consecutive wins and play spoiler in the Western Conference playoff picture when the red-hot club hosts the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks tonight at Nationwide Arena.
The Ducks are close to capturing their first division title in franchise history, as they currently own a four-point advantage on both Dallas and San Jose with the season winding down. Anaheim also trails Nashville by only three points in the race for the No. 1 playoff seed in the West.
Anaheim has a chance to pad its lead on the Stars and Sharks, both of whom are idle tonight, but will have to defeat a Columbus squad that has ripped off four straight wins.
The Blue Jackets have also taken both previous meetings between these teams in 2006-07, with both victories having come on the road, and are 4-1-0 over their last five encounters with the Ducks.
Columbus is fresh off a home-and-home sweep of St. Louis, taking both matchups by identical 4-1 scores. Fredrik Modin had a pair of goals to lead the way in Tuesday's series finale at the Scottrade Center.
Ron Hainsey added a goal and an assist, while David Vyborny finished with a pair of helpers for the Blue Jackets. Fredrik Norrena had a relatively easy night in goal, as the Columbus netminder needed to make just 19 saves.
Modin has now scored five times during the Blue Jackets' four-game run, the club's longest win streak since it posted five straight victories from December 2-12.
Anaheim halted a four-game road slide with Wednesday's 3-1 triumph over lowly Chicago. Dustin Penner had two of the Ducks' goals, while netminder Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 20-of-21 shots to improve to 4-1-1 over his last six starts.
George Parros also lit the lamp and Corey Perry had two assists to help Anaheim record its first road win since a February 17th decision over Los Angeles.
The Ducks will be playing the third test of a four-game road trip tonight and are 19-14-4 as the visitor on the season. Four of Anaheim's final five regular-season contests will be away from home.
Anaheim and Columbus will also meet at Nationwide Arena in the season finale on April 7.
03/29 10:42:43 ET