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Ducks 4 Blue Jackets 2 -- Quick Thoughts

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The Blue Jackets went duck hunting in Anaheim, looking for a rare California sweep.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

FIRST PERIOD

  • For the Blue Jackets, Curtis McElhinney took a turn between the pipes, Cody Goloubef returned, Rene Bourque's picture remained on the milk carton, and Kerby Rychel was sent down without seeing the ice . . . again.  Ryan Getzlaf made his return for the Ducks after an appendectomy.
  • Lots of Ducks fans disguised as empty seats when the puck dropped for this one.  Gotta love L.A. traffic
  • As might have been feared, the Blue Jackets came out a bit sluggish after the 15 round bout with the L.A. Kings the night before.  Anaheim was faster and more precise, yet the Blue Jackets registered the first shot on goal of the game 3:28 into the contest.
  • Just 15 seconds later, Anaheim took the lead when Ryan Getzlaf was able to find Corey Perry breaking out at center ice, while two Blue Jackets collided at the red line.  McElhinney made a nice save on Perry's attempt, but could not control the rebound, which was parked in the net by Cam Fowler.  1 - 0 Anaheim, with Perry and Getzlaf gaining the assists.
  • At about the 12:30 mark, the Blue Jackets started to find their legs and their spirit, beginning to create some possession time and get to some pucks. A point shot from Ryan Murray got behind Andersen, but was saved by the quick stick of a defenseman.
  • With 8:30 left in the period, Nick Foligno laid a hit on Perry that sent Perry's stick arcing high in the air, almost into the stands.  Had it been at Nationwide, the blimp would have been toast.
  • At the 6:50 mark, Ryan Murray made a nice run with the puck deep into the Duck's zone, dishing the puck to Campbell, who made a nice wraparound attempt, spoiled by Andersen.
  • Another prime opportunity came at the 2:25 mark, with Nick Foligno battling in the blue paint.  Frederik Andersen grabbed Foligno's stick with his glove hand, probably saving a goal.  No call.  Karlsson had a couple of prime opportunities as well.  This kid is good.
  • With just 44.5 seconds left, the puck got behind McElhinney, but David Savard played the role of hero, sweeping the puck down the ice.
  • Shots were just 11 - 10 Anaheim for the period, but the Ducks took the Blue Jackets to the woodshed in the face-off circle, winning 12 of 16 draws.
  • Columbus survived the first, and had momentum as the period ended.  They needed to find another gear in the second.

SECOND PERIOD

  • This frame started at 4-on-4, due to coincidental minors to Ryan Johansen and Chris Stewart at the end of the first.  While exiting the ice, Johansen skated closer to Andersen than perhaps was required, and Stewart took umbrage at the insult.   No damage done either way.
  • Though the skating was better, the Blue Jackets had another case of the second period penalty-iris.  Boone Jenner started the parade at 17:15, but to call it a dubious call is charitable.   Although McElhinney had some scary moments in goal, the kill was successful.
  • At 14:09, Cody Goloubef was whistled for holding -- another case where reasonable minds could differ as to who was hold whom. The PK unit was not as fortunate this time.  Getlaf fired a shot at the net, which hit Patrick Maroon squarely in the back.  The puck fortuitously dropped at his feet, where he was the first to find it, and was able to jam it past Curtis McElhinney.  2 - 0 Ducks, with Getzlaf and Perry garnering the assists.
  • Just when things seemed desperate, the Blue Jackets came through.  In a beautiful tic-tac-toe play at the 10:44 mark, David Savard dragged the put to the middle up high, then found Brandon Dubinsky by himself at the right circle.  Dubinsky lasered a perfect back-door pass to the stick of Scott Hartnell, who tipped it in to restore the one goal deficit.  2 -1 Ducks, with Dubinsky and Savard having the helpers. (That was the first shot for the Blue Jackets in the period)
  • At 11:46, the Blue Jackets made a horrific turnover at their own blue line, which sent Perry in all alone on McElhinney. Mac made the save, and managed to get across to deflect the rebound away.  Meanwhile, Hartnell checked Perry into the net as the whistle blew, which set off a melee.  When the dust settled, Hartnell earned the extra two minutes, which had the Blue Jackets furious.  Torts was beside himself, and Foligno pressed the case long and hard with the referee, to no avail.  Fortunately, Columbus put together a solid kill.
  • The injustice to Hartnell seemed to fire up the Blue Jackets.  They forced the play, which in turn forced a holding penalty at 2:07.  Hartnell rocketed a shot off the goalpost, and Brandon Saad came close on another play down low.  With 12.6 seconds left, Kevin Bieksa was nabbed for tripping, providing a 5 second two man advantage.  That almost resulted in a breakaway for Stoner, but the period ended 2 -1.
  • Shots were 11 - 10 Anaheim, again, with almost all of the Blue Jackets' shots coming late in the period.  Columbus held an 11 - 10 edge in the face-off circle for the period.
  • The Blue Jackets need to maintain the momentum, stay out of the box, and tilt the ice in their favor.

THIRD PERIOD

  • The Blue Jackets had a few opportunities during the remainder of their power play at the beginning of the period, but could not convert.
  • After the power play, the clubs exchanged a series of end-to-end chances, with nary a whistle to disturb the flow.  Neither team could convert.
  • At the 11:14 mark, Anaheim drove the stake through the Blue Jackets' collective heart.  Corey Perry circled behind the Columbus net from left to right, then sent a diagonal pass high between the circles to Josh Manson, who sent a shot at McElhinney.  Curtis looked awkward in approaching the shot, and it simply went through him.  Probably one he wants back.
  • At this point, Anaheim went into their prevent defense, collapsing low around Frederik Andersen, making things difficult for the Blue Jackets offense.  Brandon Saad had a couple of nice chances that were denied, and David Savard, made a nice rush and backhand shot, but Andersen was there. Jack Johnson send a cross-ice pass to Nick Foligno, who had to settle the puck before shooting, giving Andersen just enough time to come over and make the save.
  • McEllhinney was pulled with 2:10 left, and the Blue Jackets found more urgency.  The puck left the zone, but Jack Johnson dove to swat the puck away from Ryan Kesler, who fell on top of Johnson.  That play enraged the assembled crowd, who thought a tripping call should have been called.  Again, reasonable minds can differ. However, their anger proved to be justified, as Brandon Saad found Scott Hartnell down low, who beat Andersen through the five hole, to bring the Blue Jackets within one.
  • Columbus would get no closer, as Clayton Stoner lofted the puck over everyone and into the empty net with 15.3 seconds remaining to provide the final tally: Ducks 4 Blue Jackets 2.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • No excuses, but after three games in four nights, including a physically punishing game last night, the Blue Jackets did not have the execution they displayed at the Staples Center, and Anaheim took advantage of that early.
  • Full marks for effort and persistence, however.  They kept their legs moving, and worked hard, but just could not make plays consistently.
  • Full marks to Frederik Andersen as well -- when the Blue Jackets did have chances, Andersen made some fantastic saves.  Without him, this is a different contest.
  • Scott Hartnell, Brandon Saad and Boone Jenner are just monsters right now.  Ryan Johansen needs to join the parade, as does Foligno.  Foligno is mostly snakebitten right now, but is a persistent presence in the scoring areas.  Johansen?  Not so much.
  • Penalties continue to plague the club, although tonight there were some very marginal calls.  Still, a club can ill-afford to spend needed energy on penalty kills, particularly in the back half of a brutal road back-to-back.
  • At the end of the day, going two for three on the West Coast swing was good, and if they keep up that pace for a few weeks, they'll be at .500 well before the halfway point of the season, which will make them very much in the hunt.