Goaltender Ryan Miller will earn the starting nod against the Vancouver Canucks when the squads meet Thursday in Anaheim.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle — who rarely reveals who will be in goal ahead of time — said it was a no-brainer to give Miller the assignment against his former team, which he left this offseason to sign a two-year, $4-million deal with the Ducks.
Miller’s first start this season that isn’t on the heels of consecutive games comes somewhat out of necessity. No. 1 goalie John Gibson exited Tuesday’s overtime defeat to the Kings after a puck struck him in the head. He didn’t return.
Gibson cleared the NHL’s concussion protocol Wednesday morning, according to Carlyle, and could suit up as Miller’s backup against Vancouver.
That won’t be determined until the morning skate, when the team will assess Gibson’s condition. In the meantime, the Ducks recalled goalie Reto Berra, who was in pads at practice Wednesday.
“I’ve talked to both to make some sort of a schedule that would accommodate both players,” Carlyle said of the goalies. “We always try to make sure that we can keep our players informed on what the plan is, but sometimes things interrupt the plan.
“There’s Plan A and B and C and sometimes D and E, and we’ve been at H and I with what’s gone on with our hockey club this year.”
Ryan Getzlaf’s absence from the lineup will be felt everywhere, from the power play that barely resembles its name (ranked No. 30 out of 31), to the No. 1 scoring line, to — perhaps most of all — the locker room.
Surgery was performed Tuesday on Getzlaf’s fractured left cheekbone, where he was struck by a puck 11 days ago, and he will be sidelined up to two months.
The Ducks are on a four-game losing skid, and must find a way to account for the absence of Getzlaf’s scoring, playmaking and leadership.
“You need your captain because No. 1, he’s your leader and he leads the group,” said Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm. “But I think we have some good, young guys who can do that.
“You can’t replace a guy like that, but I think we need to simplify.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830
Update: Rickard Rakell was transitioned to center during the offseason after Ryan Kesler had hip surgery, but after a few games, he was returned to wing. Even with Getzlaf’s injury, Carlyle said there are no plans to move Rakell back to the middle. ... Ondrej Kase, who left Tuesday’s game after taking a hard open-ice hit, cleared concussion protocol and could suit up against the Canucks. ... The Ducks recalled Kevin Roy, who has 11 points in 10 games with the minor league San Diego Gulls. ... The Canucks were dreadful a season ago but have surprised out of the gate with an 8-5-2 start.