Blue Jackets 5, Ducks 2

The Columbus Blue Jackets have known for quite some time that
they likely won’t return to the playoffs. The Anaheim Ducks are
starting to realize a similar predicament.

Jakub Voracek scored the first of Columbus’ three power-play
goals and had two assists, leading the Blue Jackets to a 5-2
victory over the fading Ducks on Tuesday night.

Mathieu Garon made 36 saves one night after relieving Steve
Mason, who gave up four goals on 12 shots against Los Angeles in
the first period of a 6-0 loss.

“They’re not in a playoff spot, so they’re playing to keep jobs
right now and we should have been ready,” Anaheim forward Bobby
Ryan said. “They started their other goalie, and he played well.
He made some big saves early – Dan Sexton had one back door and I
had one back door. If we score on those, maybe the ball is rolling
the other way.”

The Ducks, coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to Montreal, have
dropped three straight at home following a franchise-record,
11-game winning streak there. They are seven points out of a
playoff spot with 16 games left.

“The odds aren’t in our favor,” Ryan said. “There was a time
where we could have controlled our own fate, but that might not be
the case now. We’re not in the driver’s seat anymore.

“You can’t come out of a break and lose four straight. It’s
unacceptable. Nothing’s gone well. The power play hasn’t clicked,
and we’re not getting the proper level of execution that we should
be accustomed to with this lineup. It’s been ugly.”

The Blue Jackets rebounded from Monday’s effort in which they
recorded only 11 shots. Antoine Vermette and Derick Brassard scored
on power plays in the final 1:58, and the Blue Jackets also got
goals from Derek Dorsett and Fedor Tyutin.

“We wanted to bounce back,” Garon said. “We were not
satisfied at all, and sometimes it’s a good thing to get right back
at it the next day. I think we responded really well.”

The Ducks, who came in with an NHL-best 26.5 power-play success
rate in home games, were a season-worst 0 for 7 for the second time
in three games. This effort came against a penalty-killing unit
that allowed at least one power-play goal in five consecutive
games. And it may have snuffed out Anaheim’s postseason hopes.

“You have to believe as long as it’s possible,” goalie Jonas
Hiller said. “We still have chances to win games, but we almost
have to win all the games we have left.”

The Ducks, who haven’t missed the postseason since 2004, got
goals from Lubomir Visnovsky and Ryan Getzlaf in the final 10:49 of
the third period after falling behind 3-0.

But forward Saku Koivu took a hooking penalty with 2:31
remaining, and Vermette scored 33 seconds later. Anaheim captain
Scott Niedermayer then was sent off for hooking with 22 seconds
left, and Brassard cashed in 5 seconds later.

“Neither the power play or the penalty kill did a good enough
job,” Ducks forward Todd Marchant said.

“We had played so well up until the Olympic break. Obviously,
coming out of the break, we wanted to continue where we left off,
but it hasn’t happened for us,” Marchant added. “It doesn’t mean
that we can’t turn things around and go on a winning streak. I
don’t like to look at things as miracles. Who knows what’s going to
happen? You can win the last 16 games and still not make the
playoffs. It is possible.”

The Blue Jackets won the season series 3-1 and snapped a
five-game losing streak despite the absence of leading scorer Rick
Nash (lower body), who was scratched for the first time this
season. Kristian Huselius sat out his second straight game because
of a hand injury.

Dorsett, who missed 16 games after breaking his hand in a fight
with Anaheim’s Mike Brown the last time the teams met on Dec. 12 at
Columbus, opened the scoring at 8:55 of the first period during a
goalmouth scramble. He immediately got into another fight with
rookie Matt Beleskey while his teammates celebrated the goal.

The Blue Jackets, outshot by a combined 79-33 margin by the
Kings and San Jose Sharks during this trip, extended their lead to
2-0 at 8:14 of the second on Voracek’s 10th goal.

Tyutin scored less than 5 minutes later, following up his own
shot from the top of the left circle and beating Hiller from a
sharp angle.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle then pulled Hiller and put in Curtis
McElhinney, who stopped seven of nine shots in his Ducks debut
after being acquired from Calgary on March 3.

NOTES: Teemu Selanne, the Ducks’ career leader in every major
offensive category, was scratched because of flulike symptoms. …
Hiller made 35 saves on Dec. 12 in his only other start against the
Blue Jackets. … Columbus recalled C Derek MacKenzie and LW Maksim
Mayorov from Syracuse of the AHL because of the injuries to Nash
and Huselius. MacKenzie left the game in the first period with an
undisclosed lower body injury after playing six shifts.