By NICOLE KRAFT The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a season that has been challenging and then some, the Ducks are occasionally rewarded for their resilience.
Cam Fowler, Trevor Zegras and Adam Henrique each had a goal and an assist and the Ducks overcame a three-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-3, on Thursday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
The Ducks scored three times in the second period before putting in the third-period winner. It was the Ducks’ fifth multi-goal comeback this season, tying them with New Jersey for the NHL lead.
“A great credit to our men to have a neutral mindset and deal with the task at hand after getting behind by three,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “The easy choice is to pack it in and get through the rest of the game.
“We chose the hard choice to work through it and keep battling. The hard way is always the rewarding way.”
Simon Benoit and Max Jones also scored and Isac Lundestrom and Troy Terry each had two assists. Anthony Stolarz stopped 12 shots before being replaced by John Gibson, who stopped all 18 shots he faced for his first road win of the season (1-9-4).
“It was good resiliency by our group,” Fowler said. “Obviously, we didn’t get off to the start that we wanted to, but at this point in the season, how tough things have gone for us, we still continue to fight and claw our way back in the game and then a big third period. It’s something we should be proud of.”
Mathieu Olivier, Jack Roslovic and Nick Blankenburg scored for Columbus and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 28 shots. The Blue Jackets have lost three straight and seven of their last eight, including three in a row at home.
Both teams remained last in their respective divisions, but the Ducks won for just the second time this season after trailing through one period, improving to 2-19-1.
Columbus scored on its first two shots of the game from Olivier, for his first goal since Nov. 23, and Roslovic. Blankenburg made it 3-0 with 2:17 left in the period, seconds after a hit that buried Lundestrom into the Columbus bench.
By the second period, the Ducks had seen enough.
Twenty-two seconds after swapping Stolarz for Gibson in net, Henrique beat Merzlikins stick side. Fowler and Benoit then drew the Ducks even. Zegras’ goal at 5:07 of the third period proved to be the winner and left Merzlikins banging his stick on the ice in frustration. Jones added an insurance goal with 4:29 remaining.
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“This is a hard league,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “You can’t give an inch. They’ve got some skill and you give them some room and that’s what happens.”
MINDING THE NET
Gibson’s victory carried him past Guy Hebert for second on the Ducks’ all-time wins list with 174. He trailed only Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 206.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “Obviously, there were a lot of great goalies who played here in the past. To be able to pass some names is an honor.”
Ducks rookie Mason McTavish missed the game due to a lower-body injury. Isac Lundestrom, who missed 21 games with a finger injury, returned to the Ducks’ lineup and recorded his first points since Nov. 21. … Henrique scored for the fourth straight game, adding his team-leading 16th goal. Terry has five assists in his last four games. … The Blue Jackets have killed off all 29 Ducks power plays across 12 games, dating back to Feb. 11, 2016.
The Ducks continue their six-game road trip at Buffalo on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. PT
Staff writer Lisa Dillman contributed to this story.