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Ducks top Blue Jackets; Gibson wins first of season

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- The last time John Gibson was in goal for the Anaheim Ducks, he didn't get much help from his defense and allowed six goals in front of friends and family in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

The Ducks made it up to him Friday.

Anaheim held the Columbus Blue Jackets to 17 shots, and Corey Perry scored his NHL-leading ninth goal in a 4-1 win at Honda Center. Anaheim won its seventh straight to match its start of last season (7-1-0).

Gibson got the start, his first since the Oct. 9 season opener, a 6-4 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins, even though Frederik Andersen is on a six-game winning streak. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau wants to keep Gibson sharp, and Gibson got defense and goal support.

"I think we've been playing well lately and, even in the past couple of games, we've been keeping the shots down, so it makes Freddie and my job a lot easier," Gibson said.

"I think it was a good starting point tonight to get a win and hopefully I'll get another chance soon."

The Blue Jackets were playing the second of back-to-back games and were held to seven shots through the first 30 minutes. Their first shot of the second period didn't come until 10:22, and they had five shots in the third even with two power plays.

"[Gibson] hadn't played since that first game and so I think both John and the team wanted to buckle down," Boudreau said. "I don't know about any of that possession stuff, but I thought we played well. Limiting that team to under 20 shots was a real coup, no matter how many they've got injured or if they played last night. They're still a really good team. I thought we did a really good job at that."

Columbus did not have a good start or ending because right wing Cam Atkinson left in the third period when Ryan Kesler's skate accidentally struck him in the face. Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards did not have an update but talked to Atkinson and said, "He's not as pretty as he once was but he's in good spirits."

Perry scored 88 seconds into the game after David Savard took a tripping penalty on Jakob Silfverberg. Sami Vatanen executed a slick shot-pass to a cutting Perry, who backhanded it around Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Perry became the fastest player in Anaheim history to nine goals. He leads the NHL with four power-play goals and is tied with linemate Ryan Getzlaf, who had a goal and an assist, for the lead with 12 points.

"[Perry] certainly is feeling it right now," Boudreau said. "He's feeling every time he touches the puck, I can't think for him, that he's going to score. That's the way he's feeling. He's going to slow down eventually and, hopefully, when he does, somebody else will pick up the slack."

Vatanen and Perry made it 2-0 with another power-play goal, a slap shot from Vatanen with Perry screening Bobrovsky at 8:37 of the first period. Anaheim, ranked 22nd on the power play last season, is 8-for-31.

Devante Smith-Pelly gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with a deft redirect of Perry's pass that trickled five-hole on Bobrovsky at 13:06 of the second period. The Blue Jackets never mounted a push; center Ryan Johansen had one shot on goal.

"It's tough to get shots when you're playing D-zone a lot and you're chasing the puck around and it seemed like when we did have it, we didn't get shots," Columbus forward Scott Hartnell said. "But they have a puck-control team and their big guys, I think, outplayed our big guys, and we've got to learn from that. We've got to play with the puck more. It just seems like we were chasing it the whole night."

Columbus pulled to 2-1 at 14:00 of the first period when Hartnell's shot bounced off Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm into the net. It was the first power-play goal the Ducks have allowed at home this season.

Richards mentioned the early goal and the Blue Jackets' tendency toward slow starts this season. Columbus, which defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-4 Thursday after trailing 2-0, has been outscored 7-5 in the first period and 11-3 in the second period.

"We weren't ready to start the game," Richards said. "We couldn't execute. We couldn't make a pass and ending up chasing most of the first period. And we weren't engaged in the game. They were ready to play and we weren't."

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