ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -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.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved