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Ducks Vs. Blue Jackets: Anaheim Looks To End Road Trip With Win In Columbus

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to cap a four-game road trip on a positive note when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena. When the Ducks began this swing they had an 8-12-3 road record on the year, but they are 2-1-0 so far on the trek. Anaheim has posted a pair of shootout wins in Ottawa and Montreal and lost a 5-2 decision in Toronto. Anaheim, which is second in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference with 58 points, is coming off Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Bobby Ryan scored the lone goal of the deciding phase to help Anaheim claim two points despite blowing a two-goal third-period lead at the Bell Centre.

Ryan ended the second round by scoring on a low forehand shot inside the left post. Brian Gionta could have kept the home team alive, but his shot from the right post was smothered by Jonas Hiller to end the game. "We had a tough time in Toronto, so it was nice to get one early and then that shootout goal as well," Ryan admitted. "Jonas stood on his head in the shootout, won another big game for us tonight. We're lucky to have him."

Ryan also tallied in regulation as did Cam Fowler and Corey Perry for the Ducks, who have won six of their last eight contests. Hiller won with 37 stops. Saku Koivu returned to Montreal for the first time since leaving as a free agent to Anaheim in 2009, and recorded an assist but committed a late penalty which led to the Habs' tying tally. Montreal pulled within 3-2 on Mathieu Darche's goal with 3:40 left in the third period and Max Pacioretty capitalized on Koivu's interference minor with 17 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, have won two in a row and have managed to record at least a point in five straight games (3-0-2). Columbus went 2-0-2 on a recent road trip and closed the four-game swing with Saturday's 5-2 win in St. Louis. The Blues grabbed a 2-0 lead in the early stages of the first period, but Columbus scored five unanswered goals to take control of the contest.

Andrew Murray notched the winner early in the third period, while Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin posted late-game tallies as Columbus rallied past St. Louis at Scottrade Center. Nash has four goals and six assists during a seven-game point streak. "You never like to get down like that," said Nash of Columbus' early two-goal deficit. "It's tough when you're on the road and put yourself in that spot with two goals. But the defense was helping out everywhere, even on offense. That's what we need to do to win."

Antoine Vermette and Jared Boll also hit the net for the Blue Jackets and Steve Mason picked up the positive decision with 19 saves. Columbus is tied with St. Louis for 13th place in the Western Conference standings, but is just five points out of a playoff spot.

Tonight marks the finale of the four-game season series between Columbus and the Ducks. The Blue Jackets won the first two encounters, but Anaheim recorded a 6-0 triumph on Jan. 7 in southern California. Ryan and Teemu Selanne each scored twice for the Ducks in the blowout and Hiller made 27 saves for the shutout. Columbus has still taken three of four and five out of seven in this series and the Ducks have lost two of their last three tests in Ohio.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.