National Hockey League

Blue Jackets aim to keep momentum rolling vs. Ducks

NHL2DUCKS (3-1-0) AT BLUE JACKETS (1-2-0)
7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-O, PRIME, NHL.TV

The Columbus Blue Jackets hope to continue finding their chemistry when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Columbus lost its first two games of the season before beating the visiting Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in overtime on Monday.

The Blue Jackets are in the midst of an odd schedule in which they have back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday night the first three weekends of the season with just two other games in between.

After four days off, Columbus hosts Anaheim and then heads off to play at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

“We look at it as far as where we can have mini-sessions as far as working on things,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told reporters after practice Wednesday. “It’s welcomed by us. Even if we were winning all the games, it would be welcome because you’re still working on your concept.”

The Ducks will be playing their second road game in two nights after losing 2-1 at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday for their first loss in four games this season.

John Gibson has allowed five goals in four games but will likely get a rest against the Blue Jackets, giving veteran Ryan Miller his first start of the season.

Miller has three shutouts in 13 career games against Columbus, owning a .929 save percentage and 2.02 goals-against average in those games.

Devin Shore has been an early contributor for Anaheim, tallying two assists, despite bouncing around lines.

He started on the fourth line against the Penguins with Derek Grant and Carter Rowney.

“There are certain things that make me successful in my game and, if I just worry about that, the good thing is we have tremendous players on our team,” Shore told Fox Sports West. “So, it doesn’t really matter where you slot in, I’ve just got to play my game.”

Troy Terry, on the other hand, is overdue to get on the scoresheet for the Ducks, who have combined for nine goals in the first four games.

Terry started on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Max Jones on Thursday, but he didn’t record a shot in 13:47 of ice time.

Tortorella continues to work on different defensive pairs while closely evaluating his two goalies.

He told reporters that Vladislav Gavrikov, Scott Harrington, Markus Nutivaara and Dean Kukan will play against Anaheim, but he’s still deciding between Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Ryan Murray and David Savard for the final two defensemen in the lineup.

“I’m not sure what the six will be when we play Anaheim,” Tortorella said. “It’s not set in stone for those five and six spots.”

Tortorella also had not made up his mind whether Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins would start in goal against the Ducks.

Korpisalo started the first and third games this season, and Merzlikins made his NHL debut in a 7-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“We’re just going one game at a time,” Tortorella said of his goalie situation.

Tortorella also said the Blue Jackets will be without forward Josh Anderson for a second straight game because of an upper-body injury. Anderson had 27 goals and 20 assists for Columbus last season.

–Field Level Media

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