COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Anaheim Ducks hope the all-star break doesn’t slow them down.
Teemu Selanne had a goal and an assist, and all-star goalie Jonas Hiller made 35 saves for his NHL-leading 25th win as the surging Ducks held on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night in the last game for both teams before the midseason showcase.
“Obviously, we’ve played a lot of hockey,” Selanne said. “I always think the break is good, but the team has played well lately. Even those nights when we haven’t played that well we’ve still found a way to win the games. That’s a sign of a good team.”
Another positive for a club is winning one-goal games, something the Ducks have done six straight times.
Cam Fowler and Jason Blake also scored for Anaheim, which has won 10 of 13.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey so far so we definitely could use that break,” Hiller said. “Some guys, especially on this trip, have been playing lots of minutes. On the other hand, we’re feeling it right now.”
Lubomir Visnovsky and Saku Koivu each added two assists for the Ducks, who won consecutive road games for the first time in six weeks.
Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist and Rick Nash also scored for the Blue Jackets, who entered on a five-game point streak but couldn’t come back from a two-goal deficit for a third straight game.
Grant Clitsome added two assists and Steve Mason made 19 saves for Columbus.
With the Ducks leading 2-1 in the third period, Blake, an 11-year veteran playing in his 800th career game, stepped from behind the net and flicked a backhand shot over Mason’s far shoulder. His 200th career goal and 10th of the season gave Anaheim its second two-goal lead at 4:38.
Brassard countered for Columbus five minutes later, putting home a rebound after a faceoff win for his 12th.
“We gave them some chances to come back but we found a way to win,” said Hiller, who shut the door down the stretch.
The team’s solid play is a prerequisite for the next step, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
“That’s what’s required to qualify for the playoffs,” he said. “If you look at the success we’ve had and the points that we’ve been able to earn, it hasn’t really given us any breathing room with that record. It’s tight and it’s going to be tight. It’s going to be a dogfight every game.”
An early five-minute boarding penalty on Columbus’ Derek Dorsett for slamming all-star Corey Perry face-first into the glass led to a quick 2-0 lead for the Ducks, who own the league’s second-best power play.
“It was a tough start there giving up two goals right away,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. “Hiller was outstanding and we had a lot of opportunities to get that game evened up when it was 2-1. We played hard. We got behind the 8-ball, but didn’t stop playing.”
Selanne, cutting toward the crease, converted a slick backhand pass from Bobby Ryan on a rush for his 15th goal at 4:12 of the first.
Fowler, a rookie, followed 61 seconds later with his fifth on a heavy shot from the left point.
Late in the period, Columbus pulled within one on the man advantage.
Clitsome kept the puck in the zone at the blue line before Nash scored on a wrist shot from the hash marks for his 23rd at 17:42.
The teams skated to a scoreless second period, firing 12 shots apiece. Both goalies made superb saves and there were several near misses.
Early in the period, Visnovsky cleared the puck from the goal mouth as it slid toward the net following Jakub Voracek’s shot. Later, Columbus coughed up the puck in its zone and Perry clanged an open shot off the post.
“The guys put it on the line,” Carlyle said. “Our guys have worked extremely hard to get themselves into the position we’re in. We’re having some fun right now winning some hockey games and we’re winning them different ways.”
NOTES: Selanne, one shy of becoming the sixth player in league history with 100 game-winning goals, has 35 points in 32 games against Columbus. … Clitsome has been on the ice for six of Columbus’ seven power-play goals since he was recalled Jan. 9 to run the point. … Nash has an eight-game points streak (five goals, six assists). … Anaheim wrapped up a 3-1-0 road trip. … Columbus scored multiple power-play goals (2 for 5) for the first time this season. … The Ducks are 19-0-2 when leading after two periods.