COLUMBUS, Ohio – Unless their big stars are scoring and the power play is clicking, the Anaheim Ducks don’t have a chance to rally themselves into the playoffs.
Everything came together against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Corey Perry scored three goals for his fifth career hat trick—and second against Columbus this season—to lead the surging Ducks to a 5-3 victory Sunday night.
Linemates Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist and Ryan Getzlaf added three assists for the Ducks, playing the second game of a season-long, eight-game road trip. Jason Blake also scored for Anaheim.
“It’s just the way it bounces, I guess,” Perry said. “I had a lot of shots. They were bound to find a way in. I played with a couple good linemates tonight, too. They were finding me. We had a lot of chances together.”
Perry fired a career-high 11 shots on net and has 26 goals this season.
“The coaching staff did a great job of scouting,” Getzlaf said. “We moved the puck around the way we wanted.”
The Ducks have earned at least one point in 15 of their last 17 games, but they entered 11 points out of a playoff spot—largely due to a sluggish start that cost former coach Randy Carlyle his job.
The 41-year-old Teemu Selanne, who leads Anaheim in points in his 20th season, picked up an assist to tie Brett Hull for 21st on the NHL’s career list with 1,391 points.
“We were given a bit of a clinic by 15 (Getzlaf), 10 (Perry) and 9 (Ryan) tonight, especially on their power play,” Columbus interim coach Todd Richards said. “They executed extremely well and we made some mistakes and then ended up paying for them.”
Anaheim came in 1 for 23 on the power play—including an 0-for-7 flop in a 2-1 shootout loss Friday at Detroit. But the Ducks went 3 for 4 against the league’s worst penalty killing team.
Fedor Tyutin had a goal and an assist, and Aaron Johnson and Antoine Vermette also scored for the last-place Blue Jackets, who had won three of four.
“It was important, especially because they played last night, to get a lead,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When you get a lead, and they played last night, it’s a little easier to make them quit.”
But after Anaheim went ahead 5-1 late in the second period, Columbus made things interesting—at least for a moment.
Johnson scored in the final minute of the second when his slap shot caromed off the skate of a Ducks player past Jonas Hiller, who made his 14th straight start.
“They get that goal at the end of the period and I’m thinking, well, if they get one in the first 5 minutes it has a whole bunch of connotations,” Boudreau said.
Vermette then dove through a pile of bodies to poke home a loose puck in the crease. His eighth goal of the season came on the power play just more than 5 minutes into the third, cutting Anaheim’s lead to two. Rick Nash recorded his 250th career assist on the play.
Following his coach’s orders, Perry didn’t waste any time getting on the scoresheet, striking just 46 seconds in. A shot bounced off Tyutin and Perry, last season’s NHL MVP, quickly wristed a shot from the left circle past Steve Mason.
Perry scored his second on the power play on a nice cross-ice passing combination with Getzlaf, tucking his shot from the low right circle inside the near post.
“There were lots of rebounds and we were jumping on them,” Perry said. “We outworked their PK and that’s what we need to do every night.”
Tyutin scored his fourth goal on a power play at 17:41. He one-timed a centring pass from Jeff Carter, who dished the puck while slicing to the net from the right wing.
The Ducks made it 4-1 just 2 minutes into the second.
Derek Dorsett coughed up the puck at his own blue line to Blake, who skated in alone and deked Mason for his fifth goal.
Just more than a minute later, Selanne faked a slap shot from the right side and deftly found Ryan, who scored his 21st with a laser from the slot on the power play.
Perry added his third goal of the night, stuffing home a rebound after a power-play faceoff win at 12:38.
The Blue Jackets had a two-man advantage for 1:04 and a chance to climb back into it, but didn’t get a shot on goal.
“It was a sloppy game,” Boudreau said. “I told them to never complain about winning a game. If we want to continue to win on this trip we have to get more like we played in Detroit rather than (how) we played here.”
NOTES: The Ducks are 12-3-3 since Jan. 1. … Columbus scored on the power play for the fifth straight game, tying a season high. … Mason made his second straight start in place of Curtis Sanford (back spasms). … Anaheim improved to 5-1-2 away from home since dropping a franchise-record 13 straight on the road. … Hiller made 24 saves, while Mason had 30.