After the sprint of five games in eight days on the last road trip, playing just one game with two days off around it suited the Anaheim Ducks just fine thanks to a win over Nashville. Now begins a span of three games in four nights, with the Florida Panthers up first.
Ducks: Sunday, 11/1 vs Nashville. "Heartbreaking Ricochet Goal Downs Ducks 2-1 In St. Louis"
Panthers: Saturday, 10/31 vs Washington. "Panthers Can't Add To Lead, Fall 2-1 In Overtime To The Capitals"
Yesterday was one for roster moves for the Ducks, with Tim Jackman clearing waivers and being assigned to the San Diego Gulls, while Max Friberg earned his first regular season slot with the big club for 2015-16. With a reported sprained ankle that has sent Jiri Sekac to join Ryan Getzlaf, Simon Despres, and Josh Manson on the injured reserve, it's both additional adversity for Anaheim. At the same time it's an opportunity for Friberg to build on his three goal and two assists in seven AHL games with a taste of NHL action.
Other news on the injury front sees Getzlaf skating after having undergone an appendectomy, with him hoping to be 'where he wants to be' by the end of the week. Meanwhile Manson has returned to practice with the team, hoping to return if playing with contact doesn't re-injure his upper body ailment.
With Rickard Rakell currently leading the way in scoring, it will be interesting to see who get slated alongside him in the left wing spot that's normally been occupied by Sekac. Of Rakell's 129:50 even strength ice time this season, Sekac played alongside him for 59:30 of it, with Chris Stewart his most regular right wing at 50:13. Of the remaining left wings/players who can slot on the wing Mike Santorelli has played 46:08, Carl Hagelin 19:04, and Patrick Maroon 11:57.
Florida will be playing their first game since Halloween, with three full days of rest before beginning their quick three-game California jaunt that opens with the Ducks, sees a trip to San Jose on the second half of a back-to-back, and closes in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers went 2-1-0 in California last season, including a 6-2 drubbing of Anaheim.
Though center Aleksander Barkov is on the shelf after having scored three goals and dished three assists in the first seven games of the season, Florida looks like they may be welcoming the seemingly ageless Jaromir Jagr back to the lineup after having missed the past two games. Jagr, in process of growing back his famed mullet, leads the team in scoring with six goals and four assists in nine games. He is one of just 10 players on the roster who are older than 25, with goalies Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya both over 30. The Panthers have 15 players who are 25 and under.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers For Nerds. Also be sure to check back at noon as we'll feature a 'Questions 4' with JC Smith of Litter Box Cats to give you a deeper look at the Panthers.