The Ducks headed back on the road to start a four game road trip. Having lost their first three road games, the Ducks wanted to turn things around on the next trip. A 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets continued the Ducks road woes.
On the plus side, it was a much better effort on the Ducks part and many mistakes they had previously made were corrected. The Ducks outshot the Blue Jackets 32 – 21, the fewest shots against allowed so far this year. They were also better disciplined, taking only three penalties and they killed all of them.
Despite a better effort by Anaheim, Columbus scored two goals 1:11 apart in the second period and that was all they needed. Derek MacKenzie scored at 3:32, taking advantage of a turnover by Sheldon Brookbank. Rick Nash got a lucky bounce at 4:43, with the puck going off Toni Lydman’s skate and shooting behind Jonas Hiller.
Columbus handed the Ducks several consecutive power plays, but the Ducks could not get anything generated. It took a strong opening effort in the third period to get the Ducks on the board. Teemu Selanne scored his 609th goal of his career just :58 seconds in. That surpassed Dino Ciccarelli for 16th on the all-time list and puts him within one goal of tying Bobby Hull for 15th.
The Ducks tried, but could not tie things up. With an empty net behind them, the Ducks were unable to complete any crisp passes to give them a reasonable chance to go to overtime. Instead, Nash took advantage of the gaping opening with just :27.8 seconds left to put the game away for Columbus.
The incredibly cliched phrase, “it doesn’t get any easier from here,” does apply. The Ducks head to Philadelphia tomorrow evening to meet a rested Flyers team. Another visit to Detroit is up on Saturday and then a first look at Dallas on Tuesday.
The Ducks cannot continue winless on the road, but with the schedule they are facing, it seems a tough mountain to climb. Not impossible, but extremely difficult.