The Ducks have won two games in a row. Normally, that should not be big news, but for Anaheim, it is significant. They have not put together more than one win at a time since October.
Do not burst my bubble of happiness by pointing out that the wins came against the third worst team in the NHL and the worst team in the NHL. For the Ducks (still second worst in the NHL), two wins are two wins.
The Blue Jackets played the day before, defeating the Kings 1-0. They decided to give Curtis Sanford a rest and put in Steve Mason, the former Calder award winner. After a 4-1 period, Mason was clearly not up to snuff and Sanford filled the net for the final two periods.
Andrew Cogliano got the ball rollling by converting a juicy rebound at 2:14. Corey Perry got the first goal of his fourth career hat trick at 13:02 by ringing the puck off the post and in.
Rick Nash got a flukey looking goal at 17:31 that pingponged off Francois Beauchemin and behind Jonas Hiller. That put Columbus in the game, but the Ducks were not done scoring in the period.
A power play goal from the power play king, Teemu Selanne, made it 3-1 at 18:24. It was Selanne’s 650th goal and 242nd power play goal. Five more and he will be tied for fourth all time for power play goals. Seven more and he’ll be tied for third all time.
Saku Koivu, wanting more than just a couple of assists, extended the Ducks lead to 4-1 at 18:59. Just seconds before Koivu scored, Hiller went to make a save on Nash and appeared to have overextended his leg. Good news, the Ducks scored. Bad news, Hiller went to the locker room with a “lower body injury.” He is listed as day to day.
Instead of Dan Ellis taking over, it was Iiro Tarkki, a 26 year old Finn who had just arrived that morning from Syracuse. Tarkki was called up (along with J.F. Jacques and Kyle Palmieri) because Ellis injured his groin on Saturday during practice and will be out for four weeks.
Tarkki’s first shot on goal came in the second period, and it was a rocket of a shot from Derick Brassard. Goal at 4:11. Not the way you want to make your NHL debut, but Tarkki recovered.
The Ducks got back the three goal lead at 18:24 with Perry’s second of the evening. The tap in came while the Ducks had a 5 on 3 advantage. Hooters chicken wings, and breathing room to boot.
The third period got a little dicey. First Selanne added another goal to the growing list just :27 seconds in. Then it appeared that Perry got his hat trick :21 seconds later, but Beauchemin and Derek Dorsett who were fighting with each other at the other end. Both got a 10 minute misconduct and Perry’s hat trick would have to wait.
The reason for the yelling and fighting was Dorsett being upset at Beauchemin’s hit on Jeff Carter. Carter left the game and it was announced later that he had a separated shoulder. A disciplinary hearing was held by Sheriff Shanahan to look at what they deemed to be a blindside hit on Carter.
Nash took advantage of an ill timed turnover at 4:27 to make it 6-3. Vinny Prospal got credit for a goal that was Dorsett’s work, but his stick never touched the puck. That brought the Blue Jackets back to within two at 14:06.
To make things more interesting Jacques decides to cream RJ Umberger on the next shift and earns a five minute major for doing so. As well as a two for one special with Shanahan and the NHL review board. Jacques has already served a five game suspension earlier in the year for a hit during the pre-season. Some people are slow learners.
Fortunately the penalty killers did their job and did not allow even a shot on goal during those final five minutes. With an empty net at the other end, finally Perry got his hat trick at 19:17, and the Ducks sealed the deal.
“It’s been a long time,” said Perry after the game. We got on ’em early and never looked back. Shoot the puck and good things are going to happen.”
IN OTHER NOTES: Randy Carlyle watched the game from the pressbox. Perhaps he knew that Scott Arniel would need some sympathy after the game. The Blue Jackets fired Arniel as their coach, something Carlyle can understand.