Sat, 22 Jan 2022

Blue Jackets prepare for Trevor Zegras, buzzing Ducks

Field Level Media
09 Dec 2021, 05:55 GMT+10

Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks continues to create a buzz across the NHL.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will get their first look at the dynamic 20-year-old center when they host the Ducks on Thursday night.

Zegras has eight assists in his past four games, his latest being lauded as perhaps the most creative in league history.

Zegras was behind the net on Tuesday night when he lifted the puck with the blade of his stick and flipped it in front to Sonny Milano, who slapped the puck into the goal.

The highlight-reel goal gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead early in the second period. They held on for a 2-0 win.

A night after the Ducks opened their five-game road trip with a 4-3 shootout loss against the Washington Capitals, all was forgotten with one play by Zegras.

"He's highly creative," Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. "He believes he can do anything with the puck."

Zegras could find room to work against Columbus, which hasn't played Anaheim in 23 months, well before Zegras made his debut for the Ducks last February.

The Blue Jackets have surrendered 27 goals while losing five of their past six games.

Columbus went 0-4-0 on a four-game road trip that concluded with a 3-1 loss at the Capitals on Saturday. The Blue Jackets came home and beat the San Jose Sharks 6-4 the following night, but faced another top team from the East on Tuesday when they visited the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto surged to a three-goal lead after the first period before holding on for a 5-4 win.

The Blue Jackets have done well at coming back from deficits this season. They own nine comeback wins, which is tied with the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues for the most in the NHL.

"The result is the name of the game," said Sean Kuraly, who has scored in the past two games for Columbus. "When you're doing the right things, you've just got to put your head down and realize those are the things you need to be doing. We've got to stick with them and not get off our game."

The play of Zegras has helped generate impressive results for Milano, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Blue Jackets.

Milano has three goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. He has eight goals and 12 assists on the season, three points off his career high set during the 2019-20 season, which he split between Columbus (18 points) and Anaheim (five).

The Blue Jackets didn't have Milano in their future plans after he spent parts of five seasons in Columbus. They dealt him to Anaheim in February of 2020 for Devin Shore, who played six games for the Blue Jackets before they declined to offer him a contract the following offseason.

Milano was the odd man out during training camp this season as well, getting sent to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League four days before the Ducks opened their season on Oct. 13.

Milano missed the first four games with Anaheim before he was recalled on Oct. 19. He was in the lineup two days later and produced a goal and an assist in his second game while playing with Zegras.

They've been on the same line ever since.

--Field Level Media

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