The Ducks will have Ryan Getzlaf jerseys back in the lineup for the first time in more than a month when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Honda Center.
It was an Oct. 29 game in Carolina when Getzlaf suffered a fractured cheekbone when hit by a teammate’s shot that ramped up off the stick of Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho and struck him on the left side of the face.
It has been an injury-plagued season for Getzlaf. A lower-body injury hampered him during training camp and kept him out of five other contests. The center has played in only six games, though he had seven points, including three in a win at Tampa Bay, before being struck.
“I’m excited,” Getzlaf said. “I’ve got Anaheim Ducks jerseys to go out there with some energy. Obviously these guys have been grinding the last little while here. I’ve been trying to prepare myself but it’s only the first game. I don’t want to set things too high. I just want to go out and play.”
The Ducks went 6-7-6 in the 19 games they didn’t have Getzlaf since that Carolina game. They’ve also dealt with injuries to several other players, but Ducks coach Randy Carlyle wasn’t keen on assessing how they fared without their star captain.
“I don’t really look at it as we’ve accomplished anything,” Carlyle said. “I think we’ve got lots of hockey left. We leave that up to other people positively or negatively how they’re going to describe what’s happened.
“What we’ve tried to do is we’ve tried to bring our group every day to the rink and say ‘Hey, we’ve got to get better today. We can get better.’”
Jakob Silfverberg (upper body) also appeared ready to return after a five-game absence. Silfverberg has six goals and six assists in 25 games. The winger is another important two-way forward who the Ducks lean on heavily, but Carlyle voiced caution over any assumption that they’re ready to take off.
“As a coach, you always guard against other people taking their foot off the gas pedal because of the higher-level players coming back, that it’s going to be easier,” Carlyle said. “It’s not going to be easier.
“Those players haven’t been in the lineup for a while. They’re going to take some time to get up to speed also. So I just want to caution our group.”
Joseph Blandisi (upper body) will be back Cheap jersey wholesale following three missed games after getting hurt in the third period in Nashville. Nick Ritchie (upper body) and Hampus Lindholm (upper body) have not practiced and won’t play. It will be the fourth straight contest that Lindholm has sat out.
John Gibson (8-10-3, 2.96 GAA, .920 save percentage) will get the start in goal. Andy Welinski is expected to make his NHL debut after being recalled from San Diego (AHL) on Saturday. Forward Kevin Roy and defensemen Jaycob Megna were sent to the Gulls, as was right wing Jared Boll, who cleared waivers.
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