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Jackets go Duck Hunting

The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their California tour Friday night at Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks. While the Jackets come in off the loss Thursday night against the Kings 5-2, the Ducks come in off a 6-5 shootout loss to the Oilers last Sunday.

Both teams enter on the plus side of the plus side of the playoff divider line, but for Columbus, in which they dominated their last two first periods, a combined 6-1, only to be outscored 5-0 alone Thursday against the Kings, they will be eager to put forth a full 60-minute effort. Or at least they better if they are going to be able to stick around in this playoff race.

“It’s absolutely the best part of this league sometimes, is you get a chance to get right back at it sometimes 24 hours later. We’re looking forward to another good team in Anaheim. We’re looking to get off to a good start again but carrying it through the game.” — Nick Foligno

*quotes per Blue Jackets Insider, Brian Hedger, Blue Jackets.com

One New Face, Two Big Returns

Thomas Vanek made his Jackets’ debut Thursday, Nick Foligno returned to action, and Lukas Sedlak was among the odd-man out as John Tortorella pieced together a new-look lineup for the stretch run.

The injection of both into the Jackets’ lineup helps offset the absence of Josh Anderson over the season’s remaining games. Vanek logged 13:32 ice-time with one shot on goal and a -1. Foligno was -3 in his first game back since Feb. 18.

Still Rising

Artemi Panarin has a six-game point streak (three goals, four assists) and Cam Atkinson has three goals, two assists over his past three games.

Ducks’ forward Rickard Rakell is a point away from setting a new career-highs and leads the Ducks with 51 points and 25 goals. He had a hat trick in the Ducks shootout loss to the Oilers.

Anaheim went out and picked up the familiar face of Jason Chimera from the Islanders prior to the trade deadline Monday. Chimera and Vermette, both former Jackets, figure to be on the fourth line for Anaheim.

Chimera is far from the 20-goal pace he has posted in each of the last two seasons, tallying just 11 points (two goals, nine assists) so far. But he will bring that familiar grit.

Back to “Bob”

Sergei Bobrovsky, who has won his last two starts, will be back in net for Columbus (3-2-0, .917 SV%, 2.21 GAA) and it will be the 300th start of his career. Ducks starter John Gibson recently returned to practice after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Barring a change, expect him in net Friday, which would be his first start since Feb. 19. Gibson has won each of his last three starts, and eight of 12, with .927 SV%, 2.30 GAA over that span.

Matt Calvert’s next start is also his 400th career start.


Game Notes

Projected Lineups

Rickard Rakell Ryan Getzlaf Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano Ryan Kesler Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie Adam Henrique Ondrej Kase
Jason Chimera Antoine Vermette Derek Grant
Cam Fowler Brandon Montour
Hampus Lindholm Kevin Bieksa
Marcus Pettersson Josh Manson
John Gibson
Ryan Miller
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Thomas Vanek Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Sonny Milano Brandon Dubinsky Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner Mark Letestu Matt Calvert
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson Ryan Murray
Ian Cole David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo