Winners of six straight games coming in and firing on all cylinders offensively, the Anaheim Ducks were already set up to be a handful for the Blue Jackets tonight.
BLUE JACKETS 1 | DUCKS 4
Add in a back-to-back for Columbus and a quick start by the Ducks and the Jackets were skating uphill very early, and it was a familiar script from the night before in San Jose. The Ducks scored less than two minutes into the first period on a goal from Corey Perry (his ninth of the season) and added another power play goal a few minutes later, and it was 2-0 Anaheim before the Blue Jackets could get their skates beneath them.
Columbus took some momentum back late in the first period thanks to a power play goal from Scott Hartnell - his first goal as a Blue Jacket - that made it a 2-1 game and slowed the Ducks heading into the intermission.
"We can't be spotting teams two-goal leads," Jack Johnson said. "It's the NHL. Teams are too good. They have good players and they made good plays."
The Hartnell goal was originally credited to Nick Foligno, but after a review between periods, it was determined that Hartnell’s original attempt was directed into the net by a Ducks defenseman.
In the second period, though, the Ducks really took control despite the Jackets’ best efforts to get an equalizer. Anaheim rolled its four lines and was dominant during 5-on-5 play, with several long shifts inside the Blue Jackets’ zone.
Devante Smith-Pelly’s goal with 6:54 left in the second period was a back-breaker for the Blue Jackets, who really needed to get to the second intermission either tied or within a goal. That tally made it 3-1 and cemented a strong period for the Ducks.
Todd Richards pulled Sergei Bobrovsky - who was solid between the pipes - with 2:46 remaining in the third period, desperate to try and get something going late in regulation. It took 19 seconds for Ryan Getzlaf to convert into the empty net and seal the deal for the Ducks, who racked up their seventh consecutive win.
"When we're asleep at the wheel when the puck drops...that's our fault," Hartnell said. "We have to be better."
The Blue Jackets move on to Los Angeles for the final game of this California road trip, and it’s a 4 p.m. ET puck drop on Sunday afternoon at STAPLES Center.
The Smith-Pelly goal was a killer, and it came at the end of a feverish shift from the Ducks’ top line. Perry got loose in the right circle and fired a perfect centering pass to Smith-Pelly, who was all alone at the top of Bobrovsky’s crease for the much-needed insurance marker.
1 - Vatanen (ANA): A goal and an assist for the Ducks’ skilled young defenseman, who unleashed a bomb of a slapshot to make it 2-0 early in the first.
2 - Smith-Pelly (ANA): His second period goal was a big one for Anaheim.
3 - Perry (ANA): Scored the opening goal and set up Smith-Pelly’s goal in the second.
at Los Angeles Kings
Sunday, 4 p.m. ET
Los Angeles, CA