Friday night’s game against the Nashville Predators proved a bigger loss than the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the night for the Anaheim Ducks; after the game the club announced both Tim Jackman and goalie Frederik Andersen had suffered apparent injuries in the 5-2 loss.
The Ducks confirmed over the weekend that Jackman’s injury is in fact season-ending as the winger suffered a broken hand in need of surgery. While Anaheim has plenty of firepower down the middle and on the wings, Jackman’s ability to push the opposition around on the ice will be sorely missed as the team enters the playoffs. With the Ducks’ PIM leader now out, the club may wish more than ever that they had kept former gritty offensive player Dustin Penner around just a little bit longer.
While Anaheim has never been known for high hit tallies, the postseason brings a whole different aura of physicality to the game. To compensate for the loss, the team will most likely play up their strength in speed, but with the team’s recent struggling defense the loss of Jackman is potentially a costly one.
Andersen suffered his injury Friday during the second period when a shot from Nashville blue line blaster Shea Weber missed the net and hit the goalie’s mask instead. Even more unfortunate for Andersen was that the rebound was quickly scooped up and scored on by Nashville’s Mike Fisher.
The Ducks have remained relatively silent as to the nature of Andersen’s injury. Starting goalie Jonas Hiller (who was pulled in Friday’s first period due to allowing four goals on nine shots) finished the game for Andersen and played again on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers.
Due to Hiller’s recent flimsy net presence of his own, the Ducks are forced to take on a costly experiment tonight against the Vancouver Canucks: starting AHL goalie John Gibson in his first NHL game.
While Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau publicly stated Andersen’s injury doesn’t seem too serious, even the lesser serious injuries at this point in the season prove a bit of a roadblock for any team to overcome. And the Ducks don’t want to face the opening round of the playoffs without Andersen; his play this season alone has proved him to be one of the best backup goalies in the league.
So where does this piling of injuries leave the recently struggling Ducks? Nowhere too terrible faithful fans. Anaheim showed their exact capabilities back at the start of the season when piling up the wins a midst growing injuries. The question really only remains if the Ducks can do the same when it finally matters most of all.