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The Anaheim Ducks opened a four-game homestand with a poor performance, and know they can't afford too many more such efforts.
They will try to bounce back when they attempt to hand the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets a seventh straight loss Friday night.
Anaheim (19-24-7) is in 13th place in the Western Conference and remains well out of playoff position despite a 9-2-1 surge. The Ducks' worst effort in this stretch possibly came Wednesday, when they lost 6-2 to a Dallas team ahead of them in the standings.
"When you raise your own bar by the standards ... that I thought our team had set, we weren't anywhere near as good as we should be," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We had a lot of shots, but we didn't have a lot of second shots. We lost battles, and when you lose 1-on-1 battles, you lose games."
Center Ryan Getzlaf failed to record a point for the third straight game, but he took an opposing viewpoint.
"We didn't play that awful," Getzlaf said. "We made a few mistakes, and they cost us. ... We're not going to win every single game for the rest of the year. We're on such a high, and you can't let it get too low."
Getzlaf is not the only Anaheim star in the midst of a drought. Corey Perry, a 50-goal scorer a season ago, has no points in his last four games.
Jonas Hiller made 20 saves and has gone 6-2-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in his last eight starts, with both defeats coming against Dallas.
Perry has recorded at least a point in his last five home matchups with Columbus (13-32-6), including a hat trick in a 7-4 victory Jan. 8. Neither Hiller nor Blue Jackets No. 1 goalie Steve Mason finished that contest.
The Blue Jackets are 0-5-1 in their last six after a controversial 3-2 defeat at Los Angeles on Wednesday. Drew Doughty scored a power-play goal with 1 second to play, although replays indicated that the Staples Center clock stopped for roughly a second when it was at 1.8 left. The league is investigating the matter, and NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said the goal shouldn't have counted.
The incident prompted a response from embattled general manager Scott Howson, who was not at the game and claimed that Doughty scored 0.4 seconds after time should have expired.
"Anyone who has competed at a high level of sports knows that when you put everything into a game, the result matters," Howson wrote on a blog post on the Blue Jackets' official website. "And to have the result altered unfairly stings."
Columbus has numerous players out as its frustrating season continues. The Blue Jackets are the NHL's worst penalty-killing team at 75.3 percent and have conceded eight goals in their opponents' last 21 chances.
"We have a lot of guys who have a lot to play for still," goaltender Curtis Sanford said. "There are a lot of games left and we just have to do whatever we can to win as many of them as possible."
Sanford has posted a 2.34 GAA in winning his last three starts against the Ducks while Mason is 3-1-0 with a 3.64 GAA in five career starts at Anaheim.
Columbus activated center Jeff Carter on Thursday after he missed 10 games with a separated shoulder suffered in the Jan. 8 matchup. He has 10 goals and seven assists in 30 contests.
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