Anaheim should have capitalized on the lowly Blue Jackets, who were missing key parts of their defense due to injuries. Instead, Columbus hung in there all game, legitimately took it to overtime and then finished off the Ducks in the extra time, 3-2.
"It feels good, especially after what happened the last game in L.A.," said Derick Brassard, who had the game winning goal. "We worked really hard and yesterday we had a day off. It's always tough to come to the West Coast and play some good teams. We just stuck with it."
The Ducks started the scoring early in the first period. Teemu Selanne got his first of two goals at 1:46. He had to battle with former Duck, Sami Pahlsson, but the old man won the battle and got the Ducks on the board.
The score held up until late in the second period. Brassard had a juicy rebound that he put behind Jonas Hiller at 14:47. Game tied.
But not for long.
Selanne restored the Ducks one goal lead at 16:52 on the power play. That was goal number 655. He is one away from tying Brendan Shanahan and three away from tying Jaromir Jagr in the battle of which European will end up with the most goals ever.
Unfortunately Selanne's second goal was not enough for the Ducks, and no one else was able to send a puck behind Curtis Sanford. Maybe he should have gotten his gazillionth hat trick and won it for the Ducks. With five power plays in the second period alone, the Ducks should have capitalized on those opportunities.
Instead, Jeff Carter tied up the game once more on a Columbus power play at 2:05 of the third period.
Corey Perry came close to putting the Ducks back in the lead late in the game, but his shot pinged off the post and stayed out.
Overtime it would be.
There were great chances at both ends of the ice. Andrew Cogliano went whipping down to the Columbus end only to be denied. Antoine Vermette came back the other way and Hiller made an incredible save to keep things going. Bobby Ryan immediately sped off to the other end and was also denied by Sanford. Both goaltenders were fabulous.
Then the awful happened.
Cam Fowler was stripped of the puck and the Blue Jackets had a 2 on 1 with Brassard and Rick Nash. Brassard put the puck short side behind Hiller at 3:55. Game over.
"I was trying to get in and create some offense down low," said a repentant Fowler. "Saku (Koivu) made a good play to get it to me. I thought I had a little bit more time that I did … it's up to me to know my surroundings. I just have to make a better play. There is one minute left in the game. It was just too high risk. It was a mistake on my part. I feel terrible."
So do Ducks fans, who know how vitally important every single point is for them at this juncture. While they made up some ground in the month of January, things are not looking nearly as rosy for February.
Saturday, the Ducks will lighten up for the fans and hold their Super Skills Showdown. One can only hope the good feelings will carry over to Monday against Calgary.