Another game, another three-goal third-period comeback win in the NHL. This time it was the Blue Jackets who won despite trailing the Ducks 3-0 at nearly the mid-point of the third period of their game in Anaheim.
It was only the second time in Columbus' six seasons in the NHL that it earned points from a game in which it trailed by three or more goals in the third period. The Blue Jackets notched a 5-4 shootout win in Detroit on March 25 last year after trailing 3-0 just past the seven-minute mark of the third period.
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Then they came unglued.
Rostislav Klesla scored twice and Manny Malhotra had the go-ahead goal during a four-goal outburst in the closing 10:02 to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 victory over Anaheim on Friday night.
"To have a 3-0 lead in our own building and do that, it's embarrassing," said the Ducks' Teemu Selanne, who had a goal early in the third period but missed a chance to force overtime when Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena blocked his penalty shot with 21 seconds remaining.
"There's no way we should lose like that. It's embarrassing and that's the only word I can use to describe the whole thing," Selanne added after the injury-riddled Ducks had their season-high losing string extended to four games.
The penalty shot was awarded when Alexander Svitov closed his hand on the puck in the crease. That mistake aside, Svitov had three assists during the Blue Jackets' rally.
They scored their goals during an 8:42 span when they got off eight shots at Bryzgalov, who was filling in for injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Fredrik Modin's 10th goal evened it with 2:41 to play after Klesla began the Columbus scoring, then later added his fifth of the season with 3:14 left.
Klesla's first was a one-timer from just inside the blue line. His second was on another one-timer, above the left circle after Svitov won a faceoff deep in the Anaheim zone.
Modin scored from close range, then Malhotra beat Bryzgalov from the edge of the crease after the goalie failed to control the puck on a save.
"They had some guys out, but we played a pretty solid game and everybody was skating," Klesla said after the Blue Jackets ended their five-game road losing streak. "They got the 3-0 lead, but it's never over. All we needed was a couple of goals to get back in it.
"It was pretty quick. We never gave up and we got rewarded for that. It was just a terrific win."
Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said, "When we got the first goal, it just seemed like everything let loose and it just took off from there."
Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who had two assists, said
the loss was upsetting.
"You have to do your own job as best you can and rely on each other," he said. "We weren't doing that in the third."
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he told the players that losing that way simply was unacceptable.
"There are certain things we pride ourselves on as far as playing strong defensive hockey, and that went out the window," he said.
Nikolai Zherdev assisted on the Blue Jackets' first goal and their last.
Selanne and Andy McDonald each had a goal and an assist to help the Ducks take the 3-0 lead early in the third period.
Bryzgalov, on the shelf with a groin injury until recently, started his second game in a row and faced 33 shots in another loss.
Anaheim is missing defensemen Chris Pronger (fractured foot) and
Norrena faced 36 shots. He is filling in while Pascal Leclaire recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery that's expected to sideline him until mid-February.
McDonald scored on a power play in the second period, Travis Moen made it 2-0 later in the period, then Selanne got his 24th goal early in the third.
Selanne was honored in a pregame ceremony commemorating his 500th NHL goal and 1,000 game in the league. He scored No. 500 on Nov. 22 at Colorado to become just the 36th player to reach the plateau. The 14-year veteran played his 1,000th game Dec. 31 at Minnesota. Among the gifts he received during the ceremony was a silver stick, a replica of the one he used to score his milestone goal. ... Columbus and Anaheim split their four meetings last season.