Though the Vancouver Canucks currently trail the Ducks by 10 points in the standings, they have righted their ship recently. The Canucks ended a five-game losing streak with a victory over the Calgary Flames on December 20, and beat the Arizona Coyotes 7-1 on Monday (the first time that the Canucks have defeated an opponent by a six goal margin since their most recent heyday in 2011). This will be Vancouver's first game back from the Christmas break.
While the Ducks eagerly await the return of Corey Perry, they seem to be resting most if not all of their hopes on Ryan Getzlaf. The captain has points in seven straight games (4G-7A-11P) and since Perry went down with that knee injury against Minnesota on December 5, he has only been held pointless once (December 10 vs Edmonton, of all teams). Ryan Kesler was also a big part of why Perry has not been missed as much as one would expect earlier in the month, but has cooled off a bit offensively and it's shown in the results. He only has one goal in his last four games (after having a stretch of eight points in five games, and the Ducks have lost all three of the games that he was held without a point (though in his defense that goal was his gorgeous OT game winner against San Jose).
After making 28 saves against the Arizona Coyotes last night, it will be interesting to see if Frederik Andersen starts in net tonight. If Ilya Bryzgalov starts, this will only be his second this season. In his first start he allowed six goals on 31 shots. Obviously Bruce Boudreau has not been afraid to let Andersen play back to backs this season (partially out of necessity) but Bryz has nowhere to go but up with his numbers so far this year.
As of this writing, there are no call-ups/injury updates to report from the Ducks' end, but the Canucks have called up defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti from Utica of the AHL.
What Can We Learn From This Game?:
If Bryz starts in net tonight, we will learn if he is in sufficient condition to be a reliable NHL backup. Most of the AC community seemed to agree that the Ducks organization hung him out to dry in the game against Ottawa, but he will need to prove that he is still an NHL-level talent very soon if he wants to stay in the league.
We will also learn if the Ducks have shaken off the rust that they displayed in yesterday's game against the Coyotes. Dany Heatley was slow (expected), but Francois Beauchemin looked rough in places as well (somewhat unexpected).
The Ducks give the Canucks a taste of their own medicine, routing the visiting team 6-0 (the prediction's supposed to be fearless, right?). Ryan Getzlaf scores a hat trick.