ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks looked lethargic in the opening 10 minutes against the NHL’s worst team, when they were outshot 10-2.
But Jonas Hiller made some solid saves after giving up the game’s first goal, and the Ducks eventually found their scoring punch in beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 for their fifth straight victory on Monday night.
“That first period was the worst we’ve played all season,” said Ryan Getzlaf, who along with Peter Holland, scored 21 seconds apart in the first to rally the Ducks. “All these points matter and our team is finding ways to win. We’re getting some great goaltending.”
The Pacific Division-leading Ducks’ winning streak is currently the longest in the NHL and they’ve also won their last five home games. They were coming off a 5-1-0 road trip, the best win percentage for a trip of five or more games in franchise history.
“We’re just not panicking,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Jonas Hiller made 25 saves for his first win since Feb. 2 against Los Angeles. He was playing his first full game since then after missing time because of a lower body injury.
“I was excited to be back playing,” he said.
The Ducks’ defence shut down Columbus, which had a 6-on-4 after pulling goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Anaheim’s Corey Perry took a holding penalty with 34 seconds remaining in the game.
“That’s why we have success, because everybody is sacrificing and working hard even if they’re not feeling their best,” Hiller said. “Even though we don’t play our best game we’ll find a way.”
Vinny Prospal gave the Blue Jackets an early lead before they lost their third in a row and dropped to 1-6-0 on the road. He scored when the puck bounced high off his chest and into the net past a sprawled Hiller at 3:30 of the first period.
“Every game on this road trip we’ve lost by one or two goals and put a lot of shots on net. We knew Hiller was coming back from an injury, so that was the game plan,” said Derick Brassard, who scored the Blue Jackets’ other goal. “We did a good job of attacking their defencemen, but they blocked a lot of shots and maybe that’s why they’re having success right now.
“They were coming back from a road trip and they got off to a slow start, but they found their legs and scored two quick goals.”
Holland was sent off for interference 20 seconds later, but he returned before the Ducks went on the power play when Fedor Tyutin was penalized for interference.
Holland scored on a breakaway at 15:56, beating Bobrovsky stick-side after Bobby Ryan stole the puck from Derek Dorsett deep in the Columbus zone. Ryan passed to Ben Lovejoy, who found Holland well ahead of the nearest Blue Jackets defender for his first goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
The Ducks struck again for the go-ahead goal at 16:17. Getzlaf’s backhander found the net despite traffic from two Columbus defenders for his fifth goal.
“He just took it and he’s like a bull,” Boudreau said about Getzlaf. “We’d like to bottle those things up.”
Anaheim nearly scored again in the final minute of the first, but Bobrovsky made a nifty glove save on Kyle Palmieri. Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots.
Nick Drazenovic was penalized for holding, setting up the Ducks’ second power-play goal at 8:44 of the third. Anaheim extended its lead to 3-1 when Perry took Getzlaf’s pass from the left boards and flipped the puck over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder.
“It’s weird,” Boudreau joked about Getzlaf and Perry scoring in the same game. “When those two guys are going our team goes.”
NOTES: The Ducks’ 5-1-0 start at home ties the best start in franchise history. Their five-game winning streak is the longest at home since they won six in a row from Jan. 6-22, 2012. … Holland was recalled last week by the Ducks from Norfolk of the AHL. … Prospal is two goals from reaching 250 in his career. … The Ducks don’t play again until Sunday when they host Colorado, a five-day break that is their longest since March 31-April 4, 2008. … Columbus hasn’t won since a 3-2 shootout victory at Nashville in its season opener. … Ducks rookie Viktor Fasth, one of just three goalies in NHL history to win their first eight starts, got the night off.