Perry leads Ducks in rout of Blue Jackets

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- The Anaheim Ducks are desperately

scrambling to stay within striking distance in the tight Western

Conference. They earned some relief on Saturday.

Corey Perry scored a goal and set up two others as the Ducks

cruised to a 5-2 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Defenseman Chris Pronger, Brendan Morrison, Chris Kunitz and

rookie Bobby Ryan each tallied while blue-liner Scott

Niedermayer and fellow All-Star Ryan Getzlaf notched two assists

apiece for Anaheim, which had dropped three contests in a row.

"We skated, we forechecked and we were physical," Perry said.

"We got back to our old system and it worked for us. We know

what's ahead of us and who's ahead of us in the standings. We're

chasing some teams that we're playing next. We have to have the

two points every night have our best effort."

Captain Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius each netted power-play

goals for the Blue Jackets, whose two-game winning streak came

to an end despite holding a 28-13 margin in shots.

"We weren't near as competitive as we'd like to be," Columbus

coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I didn't like our preparation all

day today... I didn't like our energy. It seemed too casual. We

had our moments but we were outplayed.

"We took to slow to get into the game. We didn't match their

intensity. They were hungry and they fed off of the momentum...

They answered the bell today."

Less than two years removed from winning the Stanley Cup, the

Ducks are hovering around the eighth and final spot in the West.

"They are all big from here on in," Niedermayer said. "We put

ourselves in a situation where we're chasing now. They're all

big. We're on the road, facing a bunch of tough opponents the

next 10 days. So it's a good win. No question."

However, their playoff hopes will certainly brighten if All-Star

Jean-Sebastien Giguere continues to negate a tumultuous

campaign.

The troubled netminder - who has been battling inconsistency

while dealing with the passing of his father, Claude, in

December - made 26 saves and bounced back from a shoddy stretch,

during which he surrendered five goals in each of his last two

starts.

"It feels great," Giguere said. "We are coming off a tough loss

(Friday). It was a must win game. There has not been a bigger

game for us this year. We answered the bell. We were physical,

we answered the bell, we fought and we scored some goals. We

are going to need more of that effort from now on."

Giguere received plenty of support early and often as Anaheim

scored twice in both the first and second periods.

Pronger and Morrison tallied in the first, but Nash cut the

deficit in half with 7:25 remaining in the second by firing a

wrist shot from the left faceoff circle on the man advantage.

However, Perry registered his 21st goal of the season two

minutes later and Kunitz ballooned the lead to 4-1 with 1:45

left in the session.

Huselius scored a power-play tally at 1:57 of the third, but

Ryan secured the victory by tipping in Andrew Ebbett's initial

shot midway through the period.

"We scored on our chances, that's really the difference in the

hockey game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Tonight the

pucks went in for us. We were fortunate. We made the most of

our opportunities."

Columbus rookie Steve Mason stopped eight shots, falling to

4-1-1 since returning from a brief stint on injured reserve with

mononucleosis.

"Mason would probably like to have a couple of them back, but

he's saved our bacon more than anybody could imagine this

season," Hitchcock said.

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