(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks made it official on Tuesday when they announced that rookie defenseman Cam Fowler will be staying with the club this season. Now they just have to get him back in the lineup.
The 18-year-old is expected to return from a six-game absence due to injury this evening when the Ducks host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Honda Center.
Fowler, the 12th overall pick of the 2010 draft, has a goal and two assists in six games so far this year. He has been out of action since suffering a broken nose and a stiff neck on Oct. 17, but that didn't stop the Ducks from keeping him on the roster rather than send him back to juniors and delay the start of his entry level contract.
"It wasn't really that difficult a decision," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told Anaheim's website. "The way Cam Fowler has played for our hockey club, it quite amazes me still to think we got him at 12."
Fowler should be on the ice as Anaheim tries to avoid a third straight loss. The Ducks dropped their second straight game on Saturday, 5-2 in San Jose, and have lost back-to-back games for the first time since they began the season with three consecutive losses.
Curtis McElhinney allowed all five goals on 41 shots for the Ducks, who fell behind by five goals before getting power-play tallies from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the third period. Teemu Selanne assisted on both goals.
"We didn't really seem to get involved in the game from our standpoint," said Carlyle. "You can't come into this building and expect them not to be coming out and jumping at you."
Anaheim, which plays its next three games at home, will likely go back to Jonas Hiller in net tonight. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.60 goals-against average in three starts versus the Lightning.
The Ducks won both meetings with the Lightning past regulation last year, with Hiller making 51 total saves. Getzlaf and Selanne both had a goal and two assists in the 4-3 overtime win at Anaheim on Nov. 19 and the Ducks have won five of the last six meetings overall between the teams.
Tampa Bay has lost two of its last three at Honda Center, but brings a 4-1-0 road mark in 2010-11 into this series. The Lightning got a four-game swing out west off to a good start with Saturday's 3-0 win at Phoenix.
Dan Ellis made 23 saves for his first shutout this year and 11th of his career. He also stopped all 24 shots faced in relief of Mike Smith in a win over the Penguins on Wednesday.
"The guys are keeping the shots to the outside, and when they do that and when they give you a chance to see the puck, and when they clear away rebounds, it always makes a goalie's job easier," said Ellis, who is 1-1-0 with a 3.94 GAA in two meetings with the Ducks.
Mattias Ritola, Adam Hall and Steven Stamkos each scored as Tampa Bay won its second in a row.
Stamkos has five goals and eight assists over a six-game point streak and on Tuesday was named the NHL's First Star for the month of October. Stamkos recorded an NHL-leading 19 points in 10 games in October.
Tampa Bay is also scheduled to visit Los Angeles and San Jose on this swing.