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Ducks @ Blue Jackets RECAP: Road Warriors

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Anaheim holds on in Columbus.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Miller had a fine first game of the season.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks arrived at Nationwide Arena having lost a tight one in Pittsburgh the previous night. While the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t boast as much firepower as they did last season, Dallas Eakins has admitted that the Ducks themselves must score by committee in order to find success. Brendan Guhle was scratched due to injury, while Max Jones and Isac Lundestrom also did not dress. That allowed Michael Del Zotto, Nicolas Deslauriers, and Max Comtois into Friday’s contest.

First Period

Ryan Miller has compiled a 1.94 GAA and 0.945 SV% in the second half of back to back games with the Ducks. He would be tested as Columbus led 4-0 in shots during the early going. Rickard Rakell made a nice deke but could not hit the corner behind Joonas Korpisalo. Later, Ondrej Kase generated a big rebound to no avail. David Savard made a long shot attempt, but Miller blockered it away.

Overall it was a dull frame, but at least the stoppages were few and far between. Nick Ritchie would be called for holding, leading to a nice shorthanded rush by Derek Grant who was ultimately unable to get a shot away. The teams skated into intermission with the game scoreless, although the Blue Jackets still had power play time waiting for them on the other side.

Second Period

The Ducks killed the remaining penalty time successfully, but Columbus would come close on several opportunities. Del Zotto would take the next Anaheim penalty, this time for tripping. Oliver Bjorkstrand nailed the crossbar, then Miller denied a bid by Seth Jones. Ryan Getzlaf took a delay of game penalty by putting the puck over the glass, leading to a surprising turning point of the game. I’ve sung Getzlaf’s praises plenty of times before, but he looked out of sorts during this one. Luckily for the Ducks, they got a bounce.

There were only about seven minutes remaining in the period when Hampus Lindholm’s clearing attempt hit a linesman, and Rickard Rakell collected it near the red line. Suddenly, the Ducks had a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush. Korpisalo made a pad save on Rakell, but Silfverberg tapped in the rebound easily to make it 1-0 Anaheim.

Less than two minutes later, Kase led a breakout from the defensive zone all the way into Columbus territory. He made a quick pass to Cam Fowler, who fired a wrist shot from the right circle past Korpisalo for a 2-0 Ducks lead. Fowler’s 60th career goal tied him with Scott Niedermayer for most by an Anaheim blueliner.

It wasn’t all roses for the visiting team. Just over a minute later, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a bad angle shot. Jones began the sequence by making a long pass from deep in his own zone. Dubois beat Josh Manson to the area near the goal line to Miller’s right. He then fired the puck, which found some space between the Anaheim goalie’s shoulder and the post. Miller had an excellent overall game, but that’s not a fun way for the cannon to go off. The score was 2-1 Ducks heading to the third.

Third Period

The Ducks received their only power play when Cam Atkinson tripped Manson, but again they were held without a goal. Afterward, Miller denied Jones on an attempt in tight. Bjorkstrand might have been the best Blue Jacket on this night. Miller would have to stifle him once again as under three minutes remained on the clock.

Korpisalo would head to the bench with 1:58 left in favor of an extra attacker. In the final sequence, Grant kept the puck stuck in the corner to prevent any final scoring attempt. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Ducks have begun the season 4-1.

By The Numbers

Shots on Goal – ANA: 23 CBJ: 27

5v5 CF% – ANA: 46.15% CBJ: 53.85%

High Danger Chances For – ANA: 4 CBJ: 8

Heat Map and Stat Card below

**All stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

**Score card courtesy of hockeystatcards.com

Three Stars

1. Cam Fowler - Potted the game winner, and a historic one at that.

2. Jakob Silfverberg - Technically, the first to two goals on the team.

3. Pierre-Luc Dubois - You don’t score on 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Next Up

The Ducks will face the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for a 10 AM Pacific Time matinee on Monday, October 14.