Max Jones' breakaway goal propels Ducks past Blue Jackets

Lisa Dillman, The Orange County Register on

Published in Hockey

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks against the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets happened to be the last game on Friday night’s NHL schedule, fittingly.

There is considerable intrigue about the battle for last place with Connor Bedard as the draft lottery prize. While the dash to the basement has a certain ring to it, for some teams, it’s been more like the crawl to the crawl space, the prime example being the San Jose Sharks who have won once in their past 10 games.

The must-see aspect between teams at the bottom of the standings lends itself to unpredictability, and the Ducks and Blue Jackets did not disappoint, with the Ducks winning, 7-4, at Honda Center.

It was Ducks forward Max Jones deciding the issue on an unassisted breakaway with 2:37 remaining, going forehand to backhand to beat Blue Jackets goaltender Michael Hutchinson. It was the seventh goal of the season for Jones, who missed almost all of last season with a torn chest muscle. The Ducks went on to add two empty-net goals in the final minute – from defenseman Scott Harrington and Ryan Strome. Harrington scored twice for the Ducks, his first two goals with the team, and Ducks rookie goaltender Lukas Dostal made 38 saves.

The win lifted the Ducks to 29th place with 56 points, seven ahead of Columbus.

The score was tied 2-2 after one period and 3-3 after two. Also scoring for the Ducks were Trevor Zegras (22nd of the season), Max Comtois (eighth) and Troy Terry (20th).

Columbus did most of its damage on the power play, going 2 for 4 on the man advantage. Patrik Laine had a multi-point game, scoring once and adding an assist. He converted his own rebound on a power play to tie the score at 4-4 at 6:43.


It happened to be the first NHL meeting between friends and Team Canada teammates Mason McTavish of the Ducks and Kent Johnson of the Blue Jackets.

“It’s great to get to play a friend,” McTavish said at practice on Thursday. “It’s good to catch up with him. We’re just kind of going through similar situations.”

They had been looking forward to playing against one another on Jan. 19 in Columbus, but McTavish sat out that game, which was the only one he has missed this season, because of an injury.

“I kind of tweaked my back a bit,” McTavish said. “I could have maybe played, but we wanted to make sure it was 100%.”

As for the game within the game? Johnson got on the scoresheet first with the primary assist on Cole Sillinger’s second-period, power-play goal, which made it 3-3. McTavish followed with the secondary assist on Terry’s goal, which made it 4-3 at 2:25 of the third period.

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