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Ducks' struggles continue with 3-1 loss to Jackets

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The woes continued for the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.

The Ducks, winners of four straight in early October, have now lost five of their last six – including a 3-1 decision Sunday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus (2-9-1) won for just the second time this season –- and much like its first victory against Detroit, the Blue Jackets welcomed plenty of on-ice altercations.

Anaheim's frustrations and Columbus' physicality resulted in six five-minute majors for fighting in just over five minutes during the first period. One of the bouts featured tough guy Cody Bass and Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

"When we play with a little bit of any edge, when we play like we're (ticked) off, when we play in the hard areas and go there first ... that's usually when better things happen for us," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said.

Columbus got a very early advantage after Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne both went in the box at 1:36. At 2:23, Rick Nash capitalized on the 5-on-3 when he collected on the right side, waited for R.J. Umberger to set a screen and fired through Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis' five-hole.

But the Ducks would even things up when Bobby Ryan finished off a 2-on-1 and beat Steve Mason (19 saves) at 8:24 to make it 1-1.

In the second period, Columbus again struck early as rookie Ryan Johansen embarked on a fine individual counter-attack, finishing near-post with a backhand for his second of the season. The Blue Jackets then weathered two Ducks power plays, with Mason denying Corey Perry twice from close range and then turning away a streaking Koivu to preserve the lead.

"That's what's needed, timely saves," Mason said. "From a personal standpoint, from my game as a whole, that was the key to it right there was to make those saves on the penalty kill. Especially since we had just gone up."

Fedor Tyutin provided some insurance at 12:52 in the second when he found the net with a point shot through traffic, and Columbus killed another Anaheim penalty in the third period to see the game out.

"Our game plan wasn't to go out and take them on in the back alley," Arniel said. "It was to go out and be physical against their skill. I thought we did a great job of finishing our checks."

Though Columbus performed well on the penalty kill, Anaheim mustered only 20 shots on goal -- a visible sign of the Ducks' recent struggles. Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle is looking for answers as his squad continues its 13-day, seven-game road trip -- its second-longest of the season. After the game, he preached simplicity.

"We seem to be over-passing and putting the puck in a different area," Carlyle said, "where it's less of an angle or less of an opportunity to score."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
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