Anaheim Ducks (46-21-7) at Columbus Blue Jackets (33-35-4)
|Date & Time||Tuesday March 24, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Columbus Blue Jackets +140 / Anaheim Ducks -155 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
It looked like a prime time match up between two of the best teams in the National Hockey League on Sunday night, but it turned into a blow out that left a lot of Anaheim Ducks fans wondering how susceptible their team will be once the playoffs start. Corey Perry was the only player to show up in this game for the Ducks and both goaltenders had about as bad a night as one could imagine against the New York Rangers. Frederik Andersen has not been playing much since he returned from injury, but he got another start in this one and allowed a goal 1:24 into the game to put the Ducks behind. Perry scored his first goal of the night just 1:26 later, but even his exceptional play wouldn’t be near enough in this one. Andersen allowed two more first period goals and was pulled in favor of John Gibson after making just four saves on seven shots. Perry added his second goal of the night to keep the Ducks in contention as they trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes of play. In the second period things managed to get worse when Gibson was beaten by a wrist shot early in the frame. New York led 5-2 after the second period and added a couple more goals against Gibson in the third as they crushed the Ducks by a final score of 7-2. Bruce Boudreau downplayed the significance of the President’s Trophy, citing his time with Washington when they won it and it resulted in a couple of early round exits. While there might not be a direct correlation between the two things, one thing that exists in Anaheim that existed in Washington is the fact that his club might not have a true No. 1 goalie. This is a club that has the ability to score a ton of goals and physically manhandle a lot of other teams. What the league saw last night was a club that is susceptible to speed and still might not have the defense and goaltending to win it all. Boudreau is going to need to find a way to get this team to really focus on the defensive end of the ice, because the odds of Andersen or Gibson carrying them on a lengthy run seems slim.
In Columbus the Blue Jackets have nothing to play for, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving premium effort on most nights. Columbus has won six of their last seven games and it’s hard not to wonder what might have been different for the club if they weren’t decimated with so many injuries early in the season. The Blue Jackets are scoring goals in bunches right now and they’re returning home Tuesday after sweeping a three game western Canadian road trip for the first time in franchise history. Saturday afternoon in Calgary the Blue Jackets were battling a team that truly is playing for their playoff lives, but Columbus got a stellar effort from Sergei Bobrovsky and found a way to get a win. Bobrovsky kept his club in the game when they were being thoroughly outplayed and gave Artem Anisimov the opportunity to tie the game early in the third period with his sixth goal of the season. Rene Bourque then got some revenge on his old team, putting in a rebound with just under a minute to play in overtime go lift the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win. Bourque also scored in the first period to tie the score after the Flames had jumped out to a 1-0 lead. It’s clear that with Bobrovsky in net and the type of work ethic that this organization has built that the future is extremely bright. If this club can just find a way to bring in a big time player or two in free agency and keep drafting and developing they might be a force to be reckon with in the coming years.
Anaheim will be looking to bounce back in a big way in this one but the Blue Jackets are always a pesky team to play against, especially when they’re on home ice. The Ducks are the better club but there’s some good value here with Columbus.