Perry leads Ducks in rout of Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — The Anaheim Ducks are desperately
scrambling to stay within striking distance in the tight Western
Conference. They earned some relief on Saturday.

Corey Perry scored a goal and set up two others as the Ducks
cruised to a 5-2 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Defenseman Chris Pronger, Brendan Morrison, Chris Kunitz and
rookie Bobby Ryan each tallied while blue-liner Scott
Niedermayer and fellow All-Star Ryan Getzlaf notched two assists
apiece for Anaheim, which had dropped three contests in a row.

“We skated, we forechecked and we were physical,” Perry said.
“We got back to our old system and it worked for us. We know
what’s ahead of us and who’s ahead of us in the standings. We’re
chasing some teams that we’re playing next. We have to have the
two points every night have our best effort.”

Captain Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius each netted power-play
goals for the Blue Jackets, whose two-game winning streak came
to an end despite holding a 28-13 margin in shots.

“We weren’t near as competitive as we’d like to be,” Columbus
coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I didn’t like our preparation all
day today… I didn’t like our energy. It seemed too casual. We
had our moments but we were outplayed.

“We took to slow to get into the game. We didn’t match their
intensity. They were hungry and they fed off of the momentum…
They answered the bell today.”

Less than two years removed from winning the Stanley Cup, the
Ducks are hovering around the eighth and final spot in the West.

“They are all big from here on in,” Niedermayer said. “We put
ourselves in a situation where we’re chasing now. They’re all
big. We’re on the road, facing a bunch of tough opponents the
next 10 days. So it’s a good win. No question.”

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However, their playoff hopes will certainly brighten if All-Star
Jean-Sebastien Giguere continues to negate a tumultuous

The troubled netminder – who has been battling inconsistency
while dealing with the passing of his father, Claude, in
December – made 26 saves and bounced back from a shoddy stretch,
during which he surrendered five goals in each of his last two

“It feels great,” Giguere said. “We are coming off a tough loss
(Friday). It was a must win game. There has not been a bigger
game for us this year. We answered the bell. We were physical,
we answered the bell, we fought and we scored some goals. We
are going to need more of that effort from now on.”

Giguere received plenty of support early and often as Anaheim
scored twice in both the first and second periods.

Pronger and Morrison tallied in the first, but Nash cut the
deficit in half with 7:25 remaining in the second by firing a
wrist shot from the left faceoff circle on the man advantage.

However, Perry registered his 21st goal of the season two
minutes later and Kunitz ballooned the lead to 4-1 with 1:45
left in the session.

Huselius scored a power-play tally at 1:57 of the third, but
Ryan secured the victory by tipping in Andrew Ebbett’s initial
shot midway through the period.

“We scored on our chances, that’s really the difference in the
hockey game,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Tonight the
pucks went in for us. We were fortunate. We made the most of
our opportunities.”

Columbus rookie Steve Mason stopped eight shots, falling to
4-1-1 since returning from a brief stint on injured reserve with

“Mason would probably like to have a couple of them back, but
he’s saved our bacon more than anybody could imagine this
season,” Hitchcock said.