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Ducks beat Columbus, 3-2, for fifth win in a row

Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Peter Holland score, and Jonas Hiller stops 25 shots in first game back from injury.

February 18, 2013|By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times

What the future holds for Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf is uncertain.

So the future might as well be now.

The Ducks stars and pending free agents each scored in Monday's 3-2 victory over Columbus at Honda Center to give the home team its fifth straight victory and ninth in 10 games this month.

"We knew it'd be a tough test. It's not easy to come off the road like that and play at home two days later," Perry said after flicking in a third-period goal that served as the decisive margin. "We did what we had to do. We got our two points."

Perry, after scoring 87 goals over the last two seasons, was a bit perplexed about having only one through 12 games, but he has scored two in his last three games and also displayed some intimidation in a contest that turned physical.

"They play a hard game, dump the puck into the zone and get after it," Perry said. "We weren't ready the first 10 minutes, but then we found our legs."

Those could've been the words of Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, too.

Hiller started 10 days after suffering a first-period lower-body injury in a loss at Dallas and two days after rookie Viktor Fasth improved to 8-0 in starts with Friday-Saturday victories at Detroit and Nashville.

Columbus handed the Ducks a deficit 3 minutes 30 seconds into the game when Vinny Prospal was credited with his fifth goal of the season.

But Hiller responded with a 25-save effort as the Ducks improved to 12-2-1, dropping Columbus to 4-10-2 and 1-6 on the road.

"I've always said it's nice to have a good backup … he gave me days to not feel rushed coming back," Hiller said of Fasth. "There's some competition now. For sure, I want to play as much as possible, but as long as we're winning … ."

In keeping with their tendency of this season, the Ducks rallied before the period was over.

First, Peter Holland streaked down the ice following a Columbus penalty and collected a precise Bobby Ryan pass in stride, firing it past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with 4:04 remaining for Holland's first goal of the season.

Then, 21 seconds later, the Ducks' first line scored again when Matt Beleskey forced a turnover on the Ducks' end and shuffled a pass to Getzlaf, who hammered in his fifth goal.

That comeback nature is stirring considering the team was 0-7-1 in instances through 15 games last season when they gave up the game's first goal. Now, they're 7-2-1 in those cases.

The Ducks imposed themselves physically in the second period to preserve the lead, with Hiller staving off five shots in the first five minutes.

Perry flattened Columbus' Jared Boll, Patrick Maroon delivered a big hit and Daniel Winnik smashed defenseman James Wisniewski into the boards.

For Winnik, that release likely helped the mounting frustration of being denied on two point-blank scoring opportunities denied by Bobrovsky.

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