By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – An Anaheim team that was once virtually unbeatable at home has looked quite fallible there lately.
The Ducks, who at one time were riding a historic streak in their own building, dropped their third in the last four at Honda Center in a 4-2 defeat to the visiting Blue Jackets. It was the first time since November 14 the Ducks (who were coming off a shutout defeat to the Stars two nights ago) lost a second straight game in regulation.
"We knew we were going to hit some patches here and there," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "It’s frustrating with our effort and our start of the game. We’re not ready to play. They came out and they played hard. Their goaltender played well early and we just didn’t respond. We didn’t keep playing the game."
Nick Foligno had two goals and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was very good with 31 saves as Columbus won its third straight to get within a point of second place in the Metropolitan Conference.
Columbus got on the board 11:10 into the first period when Nathan Horton made a nice feed from behind the net to Ryan Johansen, who one-timed it home from the left wing circle.
"I have to be better seeing some of those chances," Andersen said. "It doesn’t matter how hard they come. I have to be better. It’s tough to win when you let in four goals. We weren’t ready."
Anaheim got its first goal in the last five periods at 5:46 of the third, when Patrick Maroon got a pass down low from Teemu Selanne and made a gorgeous blind, backhand feed to a charging Mathieu Perreault for the one-timer.
That made it 2-1, but Columbus wiped out the good vibes from that goal a few minutes later. An Umberger pass went off the stick of Francois Beauchemin and bounced off Andersen, and Foligno chipped it into the net.
The Ducks took simultaneous penalties from Saku Koivu and Hampus Lindholm not long afterward, and Columbus made them pay on the ensuing 5-on-3. Cam Atkinson had no pressure as he walked in and fired a shot off Andersen, and Foligno punched in the rebound for his second of the night.
Anaheim made it 4-2 with 3:19 left, as Ryan Getzlaf whacked away at a puck in the crease and finally got it over Bobrovsky’s shoulder, but it was too little too late for Anaheim.
"It’s all about us," Perreault said. "We haven’t had a lot of emotion lately. We’re just going through the motions. We’ve been winning so much that we kind of got into a lull right now. We have to find a way to get out of it."
The loss dropped the Ducks to 1-3-0 on a homestand that ends Wednesday night against Chicago, which is clipping at Anaheim’s heels for the top spot in the NHL standings.
"It’s probably great that Chicago is coming in," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "It’s a team that if we don’t play up to our best level, we’re going to get our butts kicked. It’s never good to see Chicago because they’re a great team, but it’s maybe something we need."
After that game, the Ducks play Saturday night in Nashville before the two-and-a-half-week Olympic break.
"We’re at the point of the year where you have the break coming up, and you’re trying to focus on hockey while everyone else wants you to focus on everything around it," Getzlaf said. "We have to get our mindset right for these next two games and finish this right."