Final Score: Ducks 3, Blue Jackets 5
Only about 40 seconds into the game Sergei Bobrovsky nearly put the puck in his own net. Ryan Kesler dumped the puck in from center ice and the puck came off the end boards, then the inside of Bobrovsky's skate and across the crease, but he swatted it away before it could trickle across the line.
Four minutes of shotless hockey later, Scott Hartnell got involved with Nate Thompson in front of the Ducks' bench. Clayton Stoner stepped in to Thompson's aid and Hartnell took a couple of jabs at Stoner through the arms of the linesman for two stupid, but well-earned minutes in the box. The power play wasn't getting much done until the later stages, when a rebound came out of a scrum to Kesler and he scored with only three seconds remaining in the man advantage. The goal was the Ducks' first recorded shot on goal. 1-0 Ducks.
After the goal the Jackets were in the front foot but the Ducks' only advancement up the ice, Tomas Fleischmann trying to beat the whole team on his own, drew a hooking call on Artem Anisimov. It was another bad penalty to take for Columbus as there was really no reason to put the hook on since Jack Johnson had Fleischmann well covered. This power play looked much better, in terms of generating scoring chances, but didn't convert. Sami Vatanen had forever to take a shot at the bottom of the circle but Bobrovsky was well positioned and gave him nothing to shoot at. Corey Perry almost ripped one in at the side of the bet but it went wide. Francois Beauchemin had probably the best chance with an empty net to shoot at from point blank range but Mick Foligno got his stick on Beauch's to turn the shot over the glass. James Wisniewski also had a nice shot that Bobrovsky just got his elbow on.
After the kill Simon Despres took the puck off of a rushing Johansen but took a penalty in the process. The CBJ power play got set up a little but didn't get a shot through to Gibson and definitely didn't look like the 5th best pp in the league.
After the Ducks killed their first penalty, Andrew Cogliano came flying down the right wing and just shoveled it over Bobrovsky's shoulder from an extra sharp angle. Terrible goal for Bob to give up, and it just so happened to be the Ducks' first even strength shot on goal. 2-0 Ducks.
Kyle Palmieri took a penalty for crosschecking Marko Dano after he had snow showered Gibson. Another not so smart penalty, this time by the Ducks, and it cost them. Hartnell got free from Stoner, who in fairness was trying to cover Foligno as well, at the backdoor and Ryan Johansen found him through a forest of legs with a beautiful pass. 2-1 Ducks.
With 1:59 left in the period David Savard took a charging penalty for taking a run at Cogs as he dumped the puck out of the Ducks' D Zone. It was immediately evened up though, as Johansen intercepted a pass across the blueline and Wiz tried to trip him up as he headed in on a 2-on-1. Johansen stayed on his feet and rung it off the crossbar with the delayed penalty. The best chance of the 4-on-4 remainder of the period came for the Jackets as Boone Jenner came in on right wing and threw the puck into Gibson's feet. The rebound came right out to Foligno in front, but his shot was blocked off of Vatanen's skate. Perfect example of a young goalie's mistake that shows why Andersen should be the playoff starter.
So, the penalty filled first period ended with the Ducks leading 2-1 and 12-8 in shots on goal, one second of 4-on-4 to carry over and a few seconds of Columbus power play as well.
Nothing came from the miniscule carry over penalties but about a minute and a half into the period the Kesler, Palmieri, Matt Beleskey line that had some success earlier in the season put together a shift with a couple of good scoring chances. Kesler had a good shot on the break in and nearly tipped a Vatanen shot/pass on net to end the sequence, while Beleskey had a couple of whacks on the doorstep in between.
Perry got caught with a high stick that went uncalled early in the period, that actually led to a decent shot by Patrick Maroon through a little bit of a screen. The Ducks kept the pressure on for most of the first five minutes, but things came to a halt when Maroon took a high hit from Jared Boll in the corner. Clear head shot, shoulder directly on head as Maroon turned to dig the puck out of the corner and move up the boards. Maroon lay flat on the ice for a few seconds while play went on and eventually made his own way to the bench after being attended to by the Ducks' training staff. No penalty was called on the play, but Boll can expect a call from Stephan Quintal later this week. Shockingly Maroon only missed one shift, and as he came onto the ice had a few choice words for Boll who was sitting on the Columbus bench and laughed the comment off. There is no such thing as the quiet room, folks.
On that shift Maroon took a couple of robust hits, but stayed right with it. While the Ducks were more concerned with the physicality Johansen had a shot that went just wide from a dangerous area on the ice. A few minutes later Stoner dropped the gloves with Boll to defend Maroon's honor, but everyone's favorite Duck took the worst of it.
With 13:20 remaining in the period, the Ducks failed to clear the zone (actually a great play by Dalton Prout to keep it in) and Hartnell walked right to the top of the crease, Gibson kicked the puck off of his stick but the rebound fell for Dano right in the slot and his shot hit Hartnell in the back of the leg and stayed out.
On the next shift, Getzlaf gave up a nasty turnover right to the middle of the ice to Cam Atkinson. His shot went off the shoulder of Gibson straight up in the air. Johansen crashed the crease to jam it in. The Columbus players all thought it went in, but because Gibson and Johansen were tangled up in the net it was hard to tell whether the puck crossed the line or not. No indication was made by the referee on the ice. The Review showed Gibson cover the puck with his blocker and Johansen pushed the blocker over the line. One angle showed the puck over the line and apparently no heed was given to the fact that the contact with Gibson is what put it there. Official word from the War Room in Toronto later in the game said that the officials huddled together after the play and considered the puck to be over the line, despite not making any indication to the effect. So the official call on the ice was goal and Toronto ruled inconclusive. Not sure, I fully understand how that all worked, but good goal nevertheless. The part that really bugs me is that the goal was initially credited to Johansen, even though he clearly never made contact with the puck. 2-2 tie.
On the very next shift, Palmieri drove to the goal from the right wing and drew a hooking penalty against Fedor Tyutin. The penalty was killed, but the Ducks kept offensive zone possession and pressure on and while all of the Columbus defenders were focused on Perry, he got a puck across the slot to Beleskey with space who went to the backhand and lifted a perfect shot over Bobrovsky to regain the lead. Beautiful, beautiful goal. 3-2 Ducks.
Columbus got it right back though. Jakob Silfverberg flubbed a pass in the neutral zone and Hartnell broke in with all kinds of time and space, because Beauch just left his side of the ice for no apparent reason. Wild Bill saw Hartnell with space and got it to him at the blueline, then Hartnell just sniped it over Gibson's glove for his second of the night and we were all tied back up. 3-3.
Don't look away from this game, you'll miss a lot. Only a minute and 11 seconds later, Anisimov won the puck from Vatanen on the forecheck, got it to Jeremy Morin, who found Foligno in the slot for a one timer through Gibson's five hole to give the Jackets their first lead of the night. 4-3 Jackets.
Columbus continued to pour it on. Hartnell had a bid for a hat trick, getting behind Beauch again, but his shot never really had a chance of going in as it broke Gibson's throat protector. Before Gibson could alert the referee to the equipment issue, Foligno pinged another one off the cross bar. Apparently, Gibson hasn't learned anything from goalie coach Dwayne Roloson, clearly he was supposed to shake the mask off once he got tagged in the head to stop play.
With four and a half to go in the period, the Ducks got back on the attack, once again thanks to the Kesler, Palmieri, Beleskey line. They had an extended shift in the zone that started with a set play of Vatanen jumping up and from there had at least four or five whacks at the puck at the top of the crease, through screens, off rebounds and Palms had one with room to Bobrovsky's blocker side, but put it off the post.
Columbus had a long, wild shift in the Ducks' zone with about two minutes left that started with a 3-on-2 when Vatanen was caught up ice and continued on as the Ducks couldn't clear the zone and the Jackets kept getting to loose pucks. Eventually the Ducks caught a break, after they cleared the zone Columbus missed on a pass and iced it, prompting Todd Richards to take his timeout with 1:34 left in the second.
Right after the timeout, Maroon and Prout squared off for a marathon of a fight. Maroon got a number of short jabs in early on, but Prout landed the bigger blows in a relatively even bout. Maroon had been involved with a number of Columbus players throughout the game, but it seems like poor judgement to drop the gloves after having received a direct headshot earlier in the period.
With 41 seconds left Savard took a penalty for roughing Perry, but after another officials' huddle they decided that Perry also embellished, so it resulted in 4-on-4 to end the period again. There wasn't a really good replay of the play, but it looked like Perry got a forearm/elbow to the face and put his hands to his face afterward, not the most aggressive embellishment I've ever seen, even from Perry.
On the 4-on-4 Despres jumped up to hold a puck in the zone, but got caught for a 2-on-1 break against. Foligno got the pass to Mark Letestu but he couldn't put it on goal, Gibson meanwhile slid all the way out of his net, but Foligno's backhand/no-look pass from behind the net didn't find any teammate to cash in on the empty net. And so ended a CRAZY second period.
Early on, Bobrovsky was forced to make a great reaction save with his right toe. Beleskey's shot from the high slot deflected off of Atkinson's skate and caught Bob moving to his left, but he reached back the other way with his right and just got enough of it, while luckily avoiding a nasty groin pull in the process.
A few minutes later Kevin Connauton attempted to lift Perry's stick as the two glided across the Columbus slot and just smashed him in the face with his stick. This time it was called and not considered embellishment, but only the standard two minute high sticking for lack of blood. The power play got a few point shots away, but no real possession until the end of the two minutes and continuing after the penalty had officially expired.
The Ducks had all of the puck for the next few shifts as well. However, it was somewhat by design from the Columbus defense that was mostly preoccupied with collapsing around the front of the net, which allowed the Ducks to get to a lot of pucks on the boards and hold the zone on multiple occasions.
Rickard Rakell got absolutely ROBBED by Bobrovsky with eight minutes left. It was another one of those long shifts in the Columbus zone, where the Jackets defense was just trying to keep the Ducks to the outside, but Cogliano got a pass across to Ricky for a first time snap shot and Bob came up huge with a push off the right skate but Rakell couldn't lift it over the extended left pad.
With five minutes left, Corey Tropp dangled through several Ducks defenders to get a backhander on Gibson. Even though Gibby was sliding he had no trouble getting a leg on it. Without a doubt, it was Columbus' best chance of the period as they were content to just send one forechecker and defend for the final 20 minutes.
Boudreau pulled Gibson for the extra attacker with 1:25 to go and Hartnell completed the hat trick, beating Vatanen in a footrace and wrapping it around into the empty net. 5-3 Jackets.
The Good: The Kesler, Palmieri, Beleskey line (and Matt Beleskey in particular) found some of the magic that it was showing earlier in the season, even though they didn't get on the score sheet together (Beleskey was with Getzlaf and Perry for his goal and Kesler was on the PP). I don't have stats to back it up yet, but based on this game and thinking back on Kyle Palmieri, I would venture to guess that he's one of the Ducks' best players at gaining the zone with full possession, which helps that line tremendously. Also if we're being honest, from a neutral perspective, this game was a lot of fun to watch, it had just about everything you could ask for in a hockey game except a Ducks win.
The Bad: The Johansen goal was pretty terrible. That was nothing if not goalie interference. Apparently in the huddle the officials decided that he got a stick on the puck, but that was clearly not the case. Also the Kings beat the Rangers 4-2, for their game in hand on the Flames and Winnipeg lost to Vancouver 5-2.
The Ugly: That Boll hit on Maroon was nasty and definitely deserves some supplemental discipline. But since Maroon, somehow, wasn't injured on the play it probably won't. Boll was suspended one game back in 2008, which can be considered, but officially makes him not a repeat offender under the CBA. Whether he is suspended or not, really it makes no difference to the Ducks one way or another since they can't really benefit from the loss of a player on the Blue Jackets at this point in the season. Also, considering how much huddling and second guessing of the initial calls the referees did in this game, it's unacceptable that no call was made there.
3rd Icehole: Ryan Johansen - Even though his goal was bullshit, he was outstanding. His assist on the first Columbus goal was a beauty. Just a really great player.
2nd Icehole: Sergei Bobrovsky - He had his ups and downs, right off the jump with the near own goal and a really soft goal by Cogliano, but also withstood a barrage in the third including a couple of really great saves.s
1st Icehole: Scott Hartnell - Obviously, with the hat trick, who else am I going to choose?
Next Game: Thursday at Boston 4 pm PDT