Ducks keep rolling with win over Blue Jackets 4-2
No captain, no problem.
The Ducks were forced to play without Ryan Getzlaf, who’s produced 42 points in 40 games, after he was stricken by the flu.
Getzlaf is a perennial All-Star, but the Ducks still got the job done without him with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday at Honda Center.
The Blue Jackets struck first, but the Ducks responded moments later with a goal of their own, and it was all Anaheim as the Ducks scored four unanswered goals.
With the win, the Ducks have scored points in six of their last seven games as they push for the playoffs with just 17 games remaining.
“It was a good, resilient win by our team in terms of missing our best player,” said Andrew Cogliano, who scored a short-handed breakaway goal in the second after stealing the puck from All-Sar winger Artemi Panarin.
“That says a lot about the guys that are here and it says a lot about the guys who have come in and responded.”
Getzlaf was out, but the Ducks welcomed back starting goaltender John Gibson, who missed three games with a lower-body injury. He was stout in net, with 34 saves on 36 shots for his first victory since Feb. 19.
There were also two newcomers to the lineup: Jason Chimera and Chris Kelly, who both joined the Ducks on Monday. The veterans, acquired for their playoff experience and speed, formed two-thirds of a newly constructed fourth unit.
But it was the Ducks’ lone All-Star this season, Rickard Rakell, who again inflicted damage.
The Swede scored two goals in the final 21 seconds on Sunday against Edmonton to ensure the Ducks came away with one point in a shootout loss, and he also completed his first career hat trick in the same game.
Rakell was back at it again Friday with the Ducks’ first goal of the game, a backhanded rebound shot just 38 seconds after the Blue Jackets made it 1-0.
Cam Fowler added a goal in the third period — the Ducks’ final of the game — off a feed from Adam Henrique, who continues to pile up points after coming over in a late November trade.
But it was the penalty kill that sealed Columbus’ fate.
Less than a minute-and-a-half after Cogliano converted on the short-handed attempt, it was Josh Manson, fresh out of the penalty box, who had the puck waiting for him off a beautiful outlet pass from Francois Beauchemin.
Manson deked Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky — the reigning Vezina Trophy winner — on the breakaway and then finished on the backside, a deflating goal for a Columbus team that finished 0-4 on the power play.
“You can’t win in the league with porous penalty killing,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Usually your goaltender’s your No. 1 penalty killer, but again, it’s about acclimating some new people into the lineup, starting with the puck, get those 200-foot clears and outwork the opposition’s power play.”
Recently, the Ducks have been outworking a lot of teams, no matter the scenario.
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