Recap: Ducks Erase Early Deficit, Rally for 5-3 Comeback Win in Columbus
The win marked Anaheim’s fifth comeback of the year with multiple goals, tied for the most in the NHL. It was also the fourth three-goal road comeback win in franchise history, just the second to complete before overtime.
Tweet from @AnaheimDucks: With his win tonight, John Gibson moves up to No. 2 on the Ducks’ all-time win list!#FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/kfMuULWMOZ
“It’s a great honor for our men to have a neutral mindset and face the task at hand after falling behind by three,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “The easier choice is to pack everything up and complete the rest of the game. We chose the hard choice to overcome it and keep fighting. The hardest way is always the most rewarding way.”
With the win in goal, John Gibson passed Guy Hebert (173) for the second-most in Ducks history, trailing only Jean-Sebastian Giguere (206).
Tweet from @AnaheimDucks: Gibby with a message for the man he just passed for the franchise’s all-time wins, @guy_hebert. #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/yYbtsubRkD
Gibson took the victory in relief of Anthony Stolarz, stopping all 18 shots for the Blue Jackets in the final 40 minutes of regulation time. Stolarz left the game after an all-Columbus first period, stopping 12 of 15 shots.
Cam Fowler, Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Adam Henrique and Isac Lundestrom led Anaheim with multipoint nights. Fowler, Zegras, Henrique, Simon Benoit and Max Jones scored.
Mathieu Olivier, Jack Roslovic and Nick Blankbenburg scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost their third straight game and fell to 13-30-2 this season. Elvis Merzlikins took the loss in goal with 28 saves.
As most comeback efforts do, the night got off to a nightmarish start for the Ducks, who, despite some significant early changes, led 2-0 in the first television timeout.
Olivier opened the scoring on an end-to-end run, taking a bank pass that Eric Robinson chipped around the Fowler pinch, running in front on a 2-on-1 and beating Stolarz on the blocker side.
The 25-year-old Olivier has scored three goals in 40 games this season, matching his NHL career-best overall with Nashville two years ago.
Roslovic doubled the advantage four minutes later following a turnover in the Ducks’ defensive zone. As Anaheim attempted to clear the area on the left side of the ice, Roslovic stepped forward past a pass at the top of the circle, turning and unleashing an instant shot just under the crossbar to give a 2-0 lead to columbus.
A former Winnipeg Jet, Roslovic has five goals in 10 career games against Anaheim.
The Ducks’ deficit reached three points late in the period thanks to a well-executed offensive zone game by the Jackets. Offseason signee Johnny Gaudreau picked up a pass in the right faceoff circle, dancing away from the Ducks defense before delivering a return to Patrik Laine, who deftly flipped it to Blankenburg behind him. Blankenburg took his time to line up his shot, eventually shooting it over Stolarz’s right shoulder to cap Columbus’ first three-goal period.
Blankenburg, a 5-9 defenseman, has points in three of his last five games (1-2=3) and 3-2=5 points in 12 NHL appearances this season.
Gibson replaced Stolarz in net to start the second, and the Ducks seemed to find some life, completely flipping the script on the shaky opening frame.
Seconds after the opening face-off of the second period and as Columbus attempted to skate the puck down the right wing, Fowler released it to the middle of the ice, where Lundestrom turned and threw a Away Strips zone pass to Terry. The All-Star winger sprinted into the loose puck, then headed his pass through a sliding Blue Jackets defender for Henrique to shovel in through the backdoor.
Video: [email protected]: Henrique scores 22 seconds after the 2nd
Henrique has goals in four consecutive games, seven goals in his last 11 appearances and a team leader 16 this season. The four-game streak is the second-longest of Henrique’s 12-year NHL career, following just a six-game streak in 2013-14 with New Jersey.
Terry, who will add another assist later, has five assists in his last four games. He leads the Ducks in points (12-26=38) and assists.
Playing his first game since Dec. 1 at Dallas, Lundestrom’s two assists on the night scored his sixth and seventh of the year.
Later in the period, Anaheim found themselves at one on a great end-to-end run, with Fowler starting and ending the play. inside the line and making his way to the net. All the while, Zegras found Comtois on the right wing with a cross pass and the big winger had just enough time to turn around and feed Fowler on the doorstep, where he beat Merzlikins to make one. hockey game 3-2.
Video: [email protected]: Fowler cuts the lead in 2nd
The assist extended Zegras’ goal streak to four games (3-3=6) and gave the 21-year-old points in eight of his last nine games (5-5=10).
Comtois also had an assist and now has three points in his last five games.
From there, the Ducks went back to work, officially eliminating what was a three-goal lead with an offense from an unusual source. As Anaheim recovered from an offensive zone drop, Terry skated the puck along the left wing wall to the point before turning and setting up Benoit for a point shot, which the defensive-minded defender snagged. got it all, smashing his shot through Lundestrom’s goal. screen in front to link the game.
Video: [email protected]: Benoit scores a point in 2nd
Zegras gave Anaheim their first lead early in the third, taking a point pass from Fowler, going into the high slot and covering a wrist on Merzlikins’ glove.
Video: [email protected]: Zegras scores Ducks 4th straight goal
The goal became the seventh game-winning score of Zegras’ 145-game NHL career.
Jones capped the comeback with less than five minutes left, burying a big insurance goal on an opportunistic effort into the Columbus crease. As Megna redirected a tight centering pass on Merzilikins, the goaltender thought the puck had gone to his left. Instead, he had bounced straight into the slot, where Jones found him first and chipped him on Merzlikin’s right leg to seal a 5-3 comeback victory.
Video: [email protected]: Jones scores in 3rd period
The Ducks continue their six-game road trip Saturday in Buffalo.