Ducks vs. Blue Jackets Preview

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COLUMBUS, OH - The Anaheim Ducks bounced back from their woeful road start by picking up five points during a three-game homestand. They're hoping some lasting momentum came with them.

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Anaheim begins a challenging four-game trip Wednesday night in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets return after picking up their first win in North America.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Blue Jackets –140 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Ducks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 73% of more than 54 bets for this game have been placed on the Blue Jackets -140.

The Ducks (2-3-1) missed the playoffs in 2009-10 for the first time since the lockout and hardly looked like a team that would be capable of getting back to the postseason through their first three games. Anaheim was outscored 13-2 in losing those road contests but looked better - but far from perfect - back home.

The Ducks rallied from a third-period deficit to beat Vancouver 4-3 last Wednesday, then didn't dwell on a blown two-goal lead in a 5-4 shootout loss to Atlanta on Saturday. They saw another two-goal lead slip away Sunday against Phoenix, but Corey Perry scored with 5:37 remaining to preserve a 3-2 victory.

"It shows we're gritty I guess, but we make it interesting," Perry said. "We need to find a way to not make it a (close) game, we need to put it out of reach."

The Ducks' leading scorer with three goals, Perry wasn't about to complain too much heading into a road trip that includes stops in Philadelphia, Detroit and Dallas.

"It was huge to get back in the win column and have this feeling going on the road," Perry said.

Columbus (2-2-0) also had to wait a while to make its true home debut after splitting two games with San Jose in Sweden to open the season. After five days off to regroup, the Blue Jackets fell 5-2 to Chicago on Friday in their opener at Nationwide Arena.

They rebounded one night later, as R.J. Umberger scored a short-handed goal midway through the third period in a 3-2 win at Minnesota.

"We showed a lot of character," Umberger said after tying Kristian Huselius for the team lead with three goals. "We're going to have bumps in the road, and you have to bounce back the next night. It was a character win."

Columbus has followed both losses with victories, an excellent sign for first-year coach Scott Arniel. The Blue Jackets had eight losing streaks of at least three games last season, but Arniel seems to already be in his team's ear after a defeat.

"There was not a lot of screaming and yelling," Arniel said about his reaction to the loss against the Blackhawks. "I just asked, 'Is that how you want to play the game?'

"That's what it takes, you learn from your mistakes."

Rick Nash and Antoine Vermette, who combined for 60 goals last season, have produced one thus far, but perhaps facing the Ducks will get them going. Vermette had two goals and seven assists as the Blue Jackets went 3-1-0 against Anaheim last season, while Nash had three goals and two assists in three games.

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who had two goals and six assists on the homestand after going scoreless in his first three games, had a goal and six assists versus Columbus.
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