Blue Jackets blow a 4-goal lead, but still rally in the 3rd period to beat the Anaheim Ducks 7-4

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Yegor Chinakhov scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Columbus Blue Jackets blew a four-goal lead before rallying for a 7-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

Sean Kuraly got his second goal of the night 49 seconds after Chinakhov's score for Columbus, which finished its three-game California trip with two victories. Boone Jenner had two early assists and got an empty-net goal with 32 seconds left for his fifth goal in five games.

Zach Werenski scored two goals in the first period and Johnny Gaudreau ended his 17-game goal drought for the Jackets, who snapped their five-game losing streak against Anaheim. Kuraly and Werenski both had their first multi-goal games of the season, but Columbus blew a huge early lead during an 11-minute span of the second period.

“It was disappointing to have a period like that,” Kuraly said. “I guess it’s a lot easier to learn when you end up winning, so hopefully we can take that with us.”

The Ducks trailed 4-0 before they rallied, with Mason McTavish getting two of the four goals. Alex Killorn made it 4-4 with a short-handed goal 24 seconds before the second intermission, but the Ducks flopped again in the third period of their fourth loss in six games.

“We gave pucks away in the third period, and it ended up costing us the game,” Anaheim coach Greg Cronin said. “Their last two goals (came off) turnovers, both of them. At least four of their goals came directly off our sticks.”

Columbus' Daniil Tarasov made 27 saves despite leaving the game late in the second period when teammate Adam Boqvist accidentally hit the goalie in the face with his stick blade. Elvis Merzlikins gave up goals on the only two shots he faced before Tarasov returned for the third period.

“I was excited, and it was kind of an emotional moment (to return),” said Tarasov, who had stitches between his right eye and eyebrow. “I just tried to come back in the third and help the guys, make some saves. ... It was really disappointing in the second period for us. It was really bad. Everybody was hugely motivated.”

Troy Terry scored an exceptional opening goal and added two assists for the Ducks, who returned from a four-game road trip to open a nine-game stretch in which they won’t leave California.

The Blue Jackets are the last-place team in the Eastern Conference, but they’re four points ahead of the Ducks, who are 14th in the West as they stumble toward their sixth consecutive non-playoff season.

John Gibson stopped 20 shots and rookie defenseman Pavel Mintyukov had a career-high three assists for the Ducks, who hadn't lost to Columbus since December 2021.

The Jackets went ahead 3 1/2 minutes in when Gaudreau's slap shot hit Gibson directly in the mask, and the rebound caromed in off Werenski's leg. Gaudreau then scored on a 2-on-1 rush, deking his way around Gibson and nudging home his first goal since Dec. 29.

Gaudreau, a former 40-goal scorer for Calgary, nearly ended his drought in each of the Jackets' past two games, but both goals in San Jose and Los Angeles were negated by goalie interference.

Werenski banked a puck off Gibson's back from behind the net late in the first, doubling his goal total for the entire season.

Kuraly capitalized on Gibson's turnover behind the net early in the second, but Terry ended the Ducks' drought several minutes later, stickhandling through most of Columbus' skaters before firing a brilliant shot into the top corner for his 17th goal. McTavish then scored while Tarasov was down on the ice in pain from Boqvist's stick.

McTavish scored again during 4-on-4 play, and Killorn tied it 47 seconds later.


Blue Jackets: Host Buffalo on Friday night.

Ducks: At Los Angeles on Saturday night.