Rookie Werenski scores in OT, Jackets beat Ducks 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Rookie Zach Werenski hasn’t been fazed by much this season. Not even scoring into his own goal.
Werenski shrugged off an unfortunate bounce and scored 1:21 into overtime after Columbus blew a two-goal lead, helping the Blue Jackets escape with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
"Some nights, things aren’t going to go your way," the 19-year-old top-pair defenseman said. "But it’s just sticking to the game plan, playing hard every shift trying to make the next right play. I think it’s been working for me."
Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist and Boone Jenner got his first score this season for Columbus, which won its fourth straight at home and stretched its point streak to five (4-0-1). Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves.
Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie tied it at 2 early in the third period after Rickard Rakell scored late in the second. John Gibson made 15 stops.
"We had to find a way — even though we were up 2-0," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "We allowed them back in the game. But we didn’t get psyched out by it. We kind of just kept our composure."
After being pinned in its zone to start overtime, Columbus pushed the play forward. Alexander Wennberg got his 12th assist by spinning with the puck at the left faceoff dot and hitting Werenski with a backhand pass in stride in the slot. The eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft snapped a shot past Gibson for his third goal and 11th point in 11 games.
Saad played a part setting it all in motion.
"I just tried to dive and get a stick on it," he said about breaking up Anaheim’s attack. "Then obviously Wenny took over and made a great play."
Jenner and Saad scored in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game, but the Ducks regained their footing and carried the play from the midpoint of the first period into the third.
"We got better as the game went on," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "I think anytime you’re down 2-0 on the road and come back and get a point you’ve done something. It doesn’t darken the whole day because we’ve lost in overtime."
Rakell got his goal with 2:39 left in the second. Cam Fowler shot a puck that banked off Rakell before deflecting off Werenski’s blade and in.
Bobrovsky gifted Anaheim its other goal 1:25 into the third. He left his net and misplayed a puck, allowing Joseph Cramarossa to get possession and pass to Ritchie in front for an easy tying score.
Columbus gave itself a first-period cushion for the second time in two games against the Ducks this season. The Blue Jackets scored all of their goals in the opening frame in a 4-0 win at Anaheim two weeks ago.
Jenner was left alone in front and easily put a rebound past Gibson 1:23 in. The goal was his first this season after scoring a career-best 30 last season.
Columbus exposed more open ice four minutes later to make it 2-0. Ryan Murray moved into the zone and sent the puck inside the right circle to Saad, who buried the one-timer for his fourth.
"I think it’s a step in the right direction in winning a game a different way," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "I don’t think neither team ended up with a lot of scoring chances. It was a disjointed game."
NOTES: D Hampus Lindholm made his season debut for the Ducks. The 22-year-old Swede ended a contract dispute on Oct. 27 then dealt with visa issues before finally arriving Tuesday in Columbus. … The Blue Jackets played their first game without key defenseman Seth Jones, sidelined three weeks with a broken foot suffered Saturday. … LW Sonny Milano, selected in the first round of the 2014 draft, made his NHL debut. … Blue Jackets C Brandon Dubinsky, still yet to score a goal this season, sat out with a lower-body injury. … The Blue Jackets swept the two-game season series.
Ducks: Play at Carolina on Thursday night, then wrap a three-game trip Saturday in Nashville.
Blue Jackets: Visit Boston on Thursday night.