The Anaheim Ducks have been looking more like the Ducks recently. After what was a struggle during the first-half of the season, the Ducks have come to life, the offense included. Anaheim enters tonight against the Blue Jackets with a 26-19-5 record, bumping them up from a near .500 record just a few weeks ago. Nobody could quite understand what was going on in Anaheim. No goals were landing in the back of the opposing net, the Ducks were last in the NHL in scoring. However, there has been a changing of the tide. I don’t know if they decided to finally look at what’s been going on and wake up or what, but the Ducks have looked like the same team we saw the previous few seasons. The first-half of the season they looked like a squad who completely dumped all of their talent in the offseason. Not the case though, as all of their main talent entered the 2015-16 season on the roster. Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Cam Fowler all there. Kesler and Getzlaf were having a heck of a time trying to light the red light, so there was a major setback for the Ducks. It led to them having a scoring drought which extended until, well, basically about now.
The Columbus Blue Jackets know all about droughts. They got off to one of the worst starts in NHL history with a 0-9 record. But they have found better times recently, nothing earth shattering, but they have looked like an NHL team and not an AHL team on the ice. The way they were playing then, I’m surprised they knew how to tie their skates. Since Tortorella took over, the Blue Jackets will have their moments, and then they will fluctuate from good to bad. Being average is certainly better than what they were displaying before. With no hope of reaching the NHL playoffs, the Blue Jackets are just trying to play good hockey the rest of the way for something to build on next season. I suspect we’ll see the Jackets as an above .500 team next season, after Tortorella has had a full offseason to retool the lineup. Take away the 0-9 start, and the Blue Jackets would be flirting around .500 at the moment. The red hot Ducks continue their eastern road trip against the Blue Jackets tonight in Columbus.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Pick
The Ducks are currently on a 9-2 run in their last eleven games. Since the All-Star break, the Ducks have gone 4-1. The best sign for the Ducks during their winning ways has been the offense, which was non-existent for the first-half this season. They have recently moved from last in offense to 29th. If you look at their numbers lately, they haven’t looked anything like the 29th offense. The Ducks have averaged 3.7 goals per game, while allowing 1.3 goals a game. Fredrik Andersen has been pacing the way for the Ducks in net with a 2.28 GAA.
The Ducks defeated the Blue Jackets back in November by a score of 4-2. The Jackets have improved some since then, so we’ll see if they can even things up. The Blue Jackets have gone 5-5 in their last ten games. That is pretty well a snapshot of the Blue Jackets since Tortorella took over. Columbus is coming off a 3-2 loss in a shootout to the Islanders, while the Ducks defeated the Flyers 4-1 the other night. The Jackets are last in the NHL, allowing 3.09 goals a game. It’s hard to go against the Ducks right now. Talent wise these teams aren’t close. If Anaheim comes out and gives a solid effort they’ll win this game. Go through the motions and it opens the door for the Blue Jackets. But I think the Ducks realize they still have some making up to do after the dreadful first-half start. The Ducks should get this one. The price would be higher if the Ducks had been playing like this all season long.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN -135