ANAHEIM – In what appeared to be a desperation game, the Anaheim Ducks didn’t play like a desperate team until it was too late.
Anaheim scored its first two goals in the third period to pull to within one with five minutes left, but got no further in ultimately falling 5-2 to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. In search of the equalizer down the stretch, Anaheim instead gave up two insurance markers in dropping their fourth straight and again failing to gain ground in the playoff race.
"We seemed to be a very flat hockey club," said coach Randy Carlyle. "For whatever reason, we didn’t seem to be able to provide any energy for any extended period of time. Our execution level left a lot to be desired. Those are things that cost you in the hockey game in the end."
With a Detroit loss to Calgary earlier in the day, Anaheim had a chance to pull to within five points of the Flames’ newly earned eighth spot in the Western Conference. But they were done in by a listless first two periods against a Columbus team that had lost 6-0 in Los Angeles the night before and was without injured top scorer Rick Nash.
"You can’t come out of a break looking for a playoff run and then drop four straight," said Bobby Ryan. "It’s unacceptable. They were missing a couple of big guy in their lineup. It’s a missed opportunity is the best way to put it. It’s embarrassing."
The Ducks started to make a game of it at around the halfway point of the final period, when Lubomir Visnovsky scored his second goal in as many games on a slap shot from the high slot during a 4 on 4.
Ryan Getzlaf got the Ducks even closer when he won a battle for the puck in the corner and snapped a wrist shot top shelf from the left wing circle.
But with the Ducks fighting for that tying goal, Saku Koivu took a dubious hooking penalty with 2:31 left to set up a power play that Columbus converted on just 30 seconds later. Antoine Vermette picked up a loose puck that came off the back boards in front of the net and he backhanded it under Curtis McElhinney, who had replaced Jonas Hiller during a rough second period.
Columbus poured salt in the wounds with another goal with 17.5 seconds left, as Derick Brassard connected on a one-timer after a Scott Niedermayer hooking minor.
Anaheim dug a hole for itself over a sluggish first 40 minutes, and Columbus capitalized by scoring three unanswered. Derek Dorsett got the Jackets on the board by tossing in a goal in traffic 8:55 into the game. He then earned a fighting major coming to the defense of Brassard, who tangled with Matt Beleskey after the goal.
Columbus took a three-goal lead by scoring twice in a five-minute window in the middle of the second. On the power play, Jakub Voracek tucked a wrist shot into the top corner on the near side from the low circle for Columbus’ second goal. Then Fedor Tyutin picked up his own rebound and slid a shot from the same spot under a surprised Hiller.
That sent the Ducks goaltender to the bench for McElhinney, making his Ducks debut after coming over in a trade with Calgary last Wednesday. It was the first time anyone but Hiller manned the Anaheim net since January 27.
The frustrations came out at the horn of that second period, as Ryan reacted to getting thrown to the ice by RJ Umberger, sparking a fracas in which Getzlaf got the best of Tyutin. Ryan got two minutes for roughing, Getzlaf and Umberger took five-minute majors for fighting and Umberger got a double minor for roughing.
It was emblematic of a maddening night all around for the Ducks.
"I wish I had an explanation," Getzlaf said. "We have to have a starting point. We’re going to start tomorrow in practice. It’s going to be on us and our responsibility as a group. We’re going to come to work tomorrow and get ready to go."
The Ducks will look to bounce back Friday night against Nashville.
"We’re in a do-or-die situation. We definitely have to get things rolling and get playing the way we want to. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve lost a few in a row here and there. The easy thing is to give up and get down. That is what we’re trying to stop now and get our momentum going back the other way."
The Ducks were without winger Teemu Selanne, who was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks lose their fourth straight, 5-2.
19:43 - COLUMBUS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DERICK BRASSARD - Right off the draw, Kris Russell slaps it to Vermette in the slot, and he sends it to the wing for a one-timer by Brassard. It's 5-2 Columbus.
19:38 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Just after being denied in the crease by Garon, Niedermayer hooks down Vermette.
18:57 - Timeout Anaheim, drawing up the two-goals play.
18:57 - Ducks on the doorstep, but can't jam it through.
18:02 - COLUMBUS GOAL - ANTOINE VERMETTE - The Ducks can't sweep away a loose puck that comes off the back boards to the front of the net, and Vermette is there to pick it up and backhand it under McElhinney. Backbreaking goal and it's 4-2 Columbus.
17:29 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. hooking. Koivu is called for a dubious hook as he battles for a rebound with Hejda and Hejda goes down. Tough one to take for the Ducks.
16:50 - McElhinney gloves and holds a long shot by Jared Boll, stopping the clock and letting the top line get on the ice.
5:04 - Columbus takes a wise timeout.
14:56 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf wins a battle in the corner with Methot, who loses his stick in the process. That allows Getzlaf to move to the circle, wait for a screen to get set up in front and snap a wrist shot top shelf. It's 3-2 Columbus with 5:04 left, all the momentum on Anaheim's side.
14:31 - Timeout with 5:29 left. Ducks need something to happen immediately.
14:31 - Getzlaf pulls back and sends it to Niedermayer in the slot, and he slings a wrist shot into Garon, who is playing very well tonight.
12:30 - With the Ducks all over the Columbus net, Ryan has a golden opportunity on a wrist shot from in deep, but it hits Garon.
10:34 - CBJ Penalty - Jan Hejda, 2 min. tripping. Hejda sends Ryan sliding into the wall. Chance for the Ducks to pick up some more momentum.
9:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - With the two teams skating 4 on 4, Ryan drops the puck to Visnovsky, who has plenty of room to rip a slap shot from the high slot that travels past a Getzlaf screen and pops the water bottle. Second goal in as many games for Lubo and the Ducks scrap to within two goals with 10:49 left.
7:47 - CBJ Penalty - Fedor Tyutin, 2 min. holding. Power play wiped out as Marchant draws one fighting for the puck against the wall.
7:36 - ANA Penalty - James Wisniewski, 2 min. interference. Easy one to call as Wiz pushes down Umberger from behind as the puck is coming his way.
5:10 - Ducks have a couple of chances in front after a Wisniewski shot and rebound, but neither Sexy now Blake can get it through.
1:11 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. boarding. Niedermayer puts a shoulder check into Clark, sending him into the wall. We've got a pretty crowded penalty box, with four guys squeezing in. Looks like four dudes trying to share the back of a cab on a Friday night.
0:28 - Koivu gets the puck just under the extended goal stripe and tries to force it under Garon, and he's pushed from behind by Hejda, knocking the goal off its supports. Officials go to the video review to determine if the puck crossed the line before the net was knocked off and they determine it did not. It was definitely close.
0:00 - Ducks on the power play to start the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks put up a fight after the horn, but during the period they give up two and trail 3-0. Meanwhile, they won't have two of their top liners for the first five minutes of the next period, which will start with a Ducks power play after that fracas.
20:00 - ANA Penalties - Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf, 5 min. each fighting. CBJ - RJ Umberger, 4 min. roughing and Fedor Tyutin, 5 min. fighting. Just as the horn is about to sound, Ryan and Umberger tangle behind the net, with Umberger tackling Ryan to the ice and Ryan going after him. Everybody gets involved, with Getzlaf squaring off with Tyutin, drilling Tyutin with a couple of vicious uppercits.
19:29 - ANA Penalty - Jason Blake, 2 min. high sticking. Blake lets his stick lag behind him as he chips the puck out of the corner and gets Hejda in the mouth (or so it seemed). Ducks power play nullified.
18:50 - CBJ Penalty - Chris Clark, 2 min. tripping. Clark takes down Visnovsky with the stick.
17:33 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. slashing and CBJ Penalty - Marc Methot, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. A little animosity after the whistle.
16:34 - CBJ Derick Brassard, 2 min. high sticking. Chipchura nicely blocks a shot with the shin pads by Brassard, who clips Chipchura in the forehead trying to get the puck back.
15:22 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. goaltender interference. Getzlaf passes up a shot on the rush and tries to feed Ryan in front, and he not only can't convert it but runs into Garon, who sells it nicely as well.
13:07 - Hiller is pulled for Curtis McElhinney, seeing his first action in a Ducks uniform. It's the first time anyone but Hiller has been in net for the Ducks since January 27.
13:07 - COLUMBUS GOAL - FEDOR TYUTIN - Tyutin fires a shot from the wing that hits off the backside of Voracek and comes right back to Tyutin. He throws it back from the bottom of the left wing circle and it somehow gets under Hiller. It's 3-0 Jackets.
12:50 - Aaron Ward does a nice job to skid on his stomach and block a crossing attempt by Mayorov.
8:14 - COLUMBUS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JAKUB VORACEK - On the PP, Fedor Tyutin fakes a shot from the point and feeds Voracek in the circle. No one gets to him in time before he tucks a wrist shot into the top corner on the near side. It's 2-0 Columbus and this crowd is getting restless.
7:03 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank, 2 min. cross checking. Brookbank loses track of Dorsett, who takes a headman pass from Mayorov and gets on the breakaway. Hiller makes the big stop, but Brookbank cross checks Dorsett into the net.
5:35 - Perry with a nice feed across the slot to Visnovsky, but Garon is in position.
3:30 - RJ Umberger, the guy who sounds like an ill-conceived name for a bar and grill, has an open look but fires way over the cage.
1:40 - Koivu tries to saucer to Blake on the rush, just out of reach.
0:00 - Back at it in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Not a good one for the home team, which goes down 1-0 on a Dorsett goal.
19:29 - One shot on this power play. Crowd not liking it all that much.
It's trivia time and Patrick from Tustin is asked who was the last player from the Ducks' inaugural team to leave the Ducks. From a choice of four, he guesses Guy Hebert and he's ... well he's right! Everyone in his row wins the God of War 3 video game. How about that.
17:29 - CBJ Penalty - Marc Methot, 2 min. roughing. Methot gets a little ornery behind the Jackets net.
15:40 - Another rob job by Garon, as Perry swerves to the front of the net, drops a nice pass to Ryan, and the shot is somehow blocked by the outstretched leg pad of Garon.
13:35 - Right off the draw, it's a brawl between the guys with the two plainest names on the ice: Mike Brown and Chris Clark. It's a feverish skirmish, with Brown landing several rights to the head in a row before tackling Clark to the ice.
11:55 - Sexton is robbed by Garon trying to punch in a rebound on what looked like a sure goal.
11:30 - Listless power play so far for Anaheim.
10:00 - CBJ Penalty - Derick Brassard, 2 min. slashing. Chance for the Ducks to get even on the Selanne-free power play.
8:55 - COLUMBUS GOAL - DEREK DORSETT - During a delayed whistle for a Ducks penalty, the Blue Jackets get it to the front of the Anaheim net, where it squirts out of a scrum to Dorsett, who pokes it through the crowd, off a body and in before Bodie can knock it away in a diving attempt. After the goal, Beleskey gets into it with Derick Brassard, leading to an all-out rumble in which Dorsett comes over to take on Beleskey and they throw blows. Only those two get fighting majors. It's 1-0 Columbus.
6:50 - Sexton, playing with Blake and Koivu in place of Selanne on that second line, battles hard in the corner.
Claude Noel shown on the Jackets bench. Weird not seeing big Ken Hitchcock over there.
1:32 - Columbus comes awfully close to getting on the board first as Andrew Murray sends the puck into the crese to Antoine Vermette, who somehow can't one-time it through Hiller. He keeps jabbing away to no avail, finally taking a shot in the back from Brookbank.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center in a crucial one for the Ducks.
7:07 p.m. - In that familiar alto tone, Amanda Guerrero delivers the anthem.
Teemu Selanne is a late scratch with flu-like symptoms. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.