ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Max Jones scored the tiebreaking goal on a breakaway with 2:37 remaining and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 Friday night in a matchup of teams near the bottom of the NHL standings.
Jones blocked the shot of Columbus' Andrew Peeke as he was trying to bump the puck into the Blue Jackets' offensive zone. The shot went off the shaft of Jones' stick, before he was able to gain possession of the puck near center ice. Jones then beat Michael Hutchinson with a backhand on his stick side for his seventh goal of the season.
“It was a big goal. Definitely one of the bigger ones I have scored,” Jones said. “I told myself I was going to shoot on it, but when I crossed the blue line I saw his angles were a little off. I figured I had to go backhand with it, so it worked out."
Scott Harrington had two goals for the Ducks, who snapped a two-game losing streak. It was also the first multi-goal game of the defenseman's nine-year career and came against the team where he played for six seasons.
“He's a guy that’s not known for scoring or putting up points, but to get a couple is awesome for him, and his teammates on the bench were cheering them on,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of Harrington, who has 10 goals in 246 NHL games.
Troy Terry and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist, Trevor Zegras and Max Comtois also scored and Simon Benoit had two assists for Anaheim. Lukas Dostal stopped 38 shots.
Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has dropped two straight and became the first team eliminated from postseason contention. Nick Blankenburg, Boone Jenner and Cole Sillinger also scored, and Hutchinson made 31 saves and also had an assist.
Harrington and Strome added empty-netters in the final minute to seal the Ducks' win.
The Blue Jackets have a league-low 49 points while the Ducks have the fourth-lowest at 56.
“We had some good looks there, even in the third, we were coming. I thought we found our game pretty good there for a bit,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larson said. "We try to get it deep, it hits a shaft, and then we’re chasing there at the end.
Terry reached the 20-goal mark for the second straight season and gave the Ducks a 4-3 lead 2:25 into the third period when he redirected Colton White's pass past Hutchinson.
Laine evened it at 6:43 on the power play when he put in his own rebound after Dostal made a pad save on the initial shot from the slot.
LEADING THE WAY
Zegras and Jenner, who lead their respective teams in goals, each found the net during the first period.
Zegras opened the scoring at 3:19 when he got a pass from Strome and scored into an open net after Hutchinson thought Strome was going to shoot. It was Zegras' 22nd of the season and also gave him 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the last 10 games.
Jenner tied it at 2 with 31 seconds remaining in the first period when he went top corner from inside the right faceoff circle for his 23rd.
SILLINGER'S DROUGHT ENDS
Sillinger scored for the first time in 46 games during a power play at 16:35 of the second period to tie it at 3. The Blue Jackets center tipped in Kent Johnson's pass from the right faceoff circle for his first goal since Nov. 17 against Montreal.
Sillinger, the NHL's youngest player last season, had 16 goals and 31 points as a rookie. He has only three goals and 10 points this season.
“It feels pretty good, but one goal in however many games, I obviously demand more of myself. But, it’s a good start,” Sillinger said.
Blue Jackets: At Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.
Ducks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press