COLUMBUS – Another sloppy second period proved costly for the Ducks, who found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-3 final score against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Defensive lapses doomed the Pacific Division-leading Ducks in a middle stanza that saw the club give up three goals to the Blue Jackets (34-35-4, 72 points). The Ducks fell to 46-22-7 (99 points) and 0-2-0 on their current five-game road trip. John Gibson (12-7-0) made 22 saves in the loss.
"The biggest thing is smarter puck decisions. All of us," said James Wisniewski, acquired in a trade with Columbus on March 2. "All 20 guys on the ice have to make better decisions with the puck. You can control that, so that’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s skating or scoring opportunities. We had plenty of those, and I thought we could’ve capitalized a little more. We got snake bit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result. Right now we have to keep battling. It’s a tough road trip."
Scott Hartnell scored his eighth career hat trick in the victory for Columbus, which tied a club record with its fifth comeback victory from a multi-goal deficit in a single season (2005-06, 2006-07 & 2010-11).
The last hat trick scored by a Blue Jackets player at home was R.J. Umberger, who was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers this past summer for Hartnell, vs. the Carolina Hurricanes on March 23, 2012. The Blue Jackets (34-35-4) have won four straight games.
"They’ve been paying great the past five games," said Wisniewski. "It’s a little bit easier to play when you have nothing to lose, but you have to give them credit. They played hard tonight, and Sergei Bobrovsky played really well." Bobrovsky made 37 saves for his 23rd victory this season.
The Ducks are tied with the St. Louis Blues with 99 points atop the Western Conference.
Four goals were scored in a 4:07 span during the second period; three by the Blue Jackets to take a 4-3 lead.
Johansen scored his 24th goal at 7:41 after a scramble in front and a lengthy review. The sequence to tie the score at 2 started with a shot by Columbus forward Cam Atkinson.
Gibson stopped the shot, but the puck rolled off his arm and Johansen, crashing the net, pushed himself, Gibson and the puck across the line. The officials conferred and ruled the puck was in the net and the replay was inconclusive.
The Ducks regained the lead 3-2 at 10:05 when Beleskey put a backhand shot past Bobrovsky. It was his first in five games since returning from a shoulder injury. Wisniewski earned his 24th assist of the season (and first against his former club) on Beleskey's goal.
William Karlsson, who was also acquired in the Wisniewski trade and was making his Blue Jackets debut, helped tie the game 32 seconds later.
Karlsson sprung Hartnell down the right side for a wrist shot from the circle. Hartnell has 11 goals and three assists in the past 13 games.
Foligno scored his 26th goal at 11:48 of the second with a one-timer in the slot from Jeremy Morin.
The Ducks took a 2-0 lead in the first period before Hartnell’s late power-play goal cut the deficit in half.
Kesler, a former Ohio State player, scored on the power play at 6:11 of the first, and Cogliano sent a backhand shot past Bobrovsky at 14:21.
Anaheim's road trip continues with games Thursday at Boston, Saturday at New York (Islanders) and Sunday at New Jersey.
"One positive is that if we play like we did in the third period for 60 minutes, we’re not going to lose many games," said Wisniewski.