The 2016 Ducks have been a lot more fun than the Late 2015 Ducks. Anaheim resoundingly bounced back from a sobering 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night by thumping Pennsylvania's other NHL team just 24 hours later. The former remains the Ducks' single loss in February, and only one of two in the last month (9-2 since January 11). Also, by virtue of scoring 3+ goals in every single one of those games besides a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks are no longer the lowest-scoring team in the league. Their 2.25 goals per game over the season still isn't anything to write home about, but Anaheim looks to be in a good position to improve that number even more against a Columbus team that surrenders the second-most goals per game in the NHL (3.09).
Some of you may have seen Barry Melrose's two cents regarding Ryan Getzlaf that basically says that as he goes, so do the Ducks. Since that was uploaded to ESPN a week ago, Getzy has already equaled his goal total (against goalies) for the entire season, and added five assists for seven points in five games throughout February. Granted, five oals is still a far cry from what's expected of the Captain, but it looks like he's finally on the right track.
At the end of the rink, Frederik Andersen has been playing like he wants that contract extension. He hasn't suffered a loss since January 1st, a 2-1 shootout loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks despite finishing with a stellar .960 save percentage that night. Since then, Freddie has been riding a six-game win streak (plus two relief appearances) with a .941 mark. John Gibson hasn't exactly been a slouch, either. With the exception of a forgettable night in his hometown of Pittsburgh a few nights ago, he has been sturdy in the crease when he's gotten the call. His recent numbers haven't been as attractive as Andersen's, but he and his defense have been working together well enough to keep games as close as the Anaheim offense will allow.
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus's 21-year-old No. 2 netminder, was the man of the hour on Tuesday night, stopping 44 shots in an otherwise sloppy game against the Islanders. Korpisalo has held down the fort for the last seven games after Sergei Bobrovsky suffered a lower-body injury back on January 21st, and he has been, for the most part, sensational during that time. The Columbus defense hasn't been able to prevent the opposition from getting less than 30 pucks to Korpisalo on any given night, but with the exception of a rough night against the Edmonton Oilers, the Finnish youngster has stood tall through every offensive onslaught. Due to their tendy's play, the Jackets have been able to steal at least a point in every game except the one against Edmonton since Korpisalo took over.
Brandon Saad, Columbus's lone representative in the All-Star game, paces his team in goals with 19. However, he's been cold since returning from Nashville, as he has yet to record a point since the break. Anaheim fans may recall the fact that Saad's been pretty decent against the Ducks recently, especially during last season's seven-game Western Conference Final when he posted 3 goals and 2 assists as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. This season, in the only other meeting between the two teams, he has a lone assist that came during a 4-2 loss. A Duck Killer he's not, but with a production rate of just under a point per game against Anaheim since last May and an eagerness to break a scoring slump, Saad may be one to look out for on the home team tonight.
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.