I had one of those days today where everything seemed to be just a little bit off. It wasn't necessarily a bad day, I just didn't feel like myself. The Ducks had one of those days, too. They played well, not fantastic, but well. The effort was there, the drive was there, but the finish was just inches off from normal.
In the first period, five minutes after St. Louis scored their first goal Bobby Ryan continued his hot streak by tying the game. Yet, the second period continues to be the Achilles heel of the team and St. Louis was able to build a two goal lead. What seems to be an all too familiar scene, the Ducks started the 3rd period down, having to claw their way back into it. It would take the hard work (and a little luck) of the rookie Devante Smith-Pelly to get the Ducks within one. As the clock ticked down, and what seemed like ages between whistles, Coach Boudreau was able to pull Jonas Hiller. With 45 seconds left, the Blues scored in the open net.
Retrieving the puck after the goal was an angry Corey Perry who shot the puck hard at the boards as he threw his head back in frustration. So many goal posts, unlucky bounces, deflections off skates, and he was getting the crap kicked out of him in front of the net with nothing to show for it. Perry's anger would boil over in the final seconds of the game as he tried to get TJ Oshie to throw down. Lucky for Oshie, the livid Perry was held back by the refs, and sent to the locker room.
The correct cliche to use in this situation is "one step forward, two steps back". The win against the Kings was a huge boost to the low morale. The Ducks gave one of their best efforts to play infamous the 60 minute game in St. Louis, only to be pushed back by an even more aggressive Blues team. We keep talking about how the Ducks don't have an identity as a team. I think the better question is, do the Ducks have unity on the ice to do what it takes to turn it around?
-- Bobby Ryan is thriving with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu (more on him later). Two goals against the Kings and another goal tonight. This is what he needed to get his confidence back. He has two outstanding veterans on his line, not his buddies. The Finn Twins expect a lot of him and he listens to what they say.
-- I thought Jonas Hiller had another strong outing tonight. He needs to continue to be angry at his teammates so he has more games like he did on Tuesday.
-- The Ducks also had 23 hits tonight (same with STL). The only skaters not having a hit - Cam Fowler (meh), Andrew Cogliano (tiny), Saku Koivu (there is a reason), Toni Lydman (hmm), and Nick Bonino (he played?!)
-- I was happy to see Corey try to fight at the end of the game. He and Getzlaf need to fight someone because their pent up rage isn't helping their hockey games. Perry has taken a beating the last two games. Time for him to beat on someone else.
-- Hey! At least the Angels crushed the people of St. Louis today.
-- As I am writing this, the Ducks decided to send Devante Smith-Pelly to play for Canada in the World Junior Championships. While I am sure this is an honor, he shouldn't be going. He deserves to continue to play with the Ducks. He scored the goal that pulled the Ducks within one tonight!!! He has lead or been in the top three hitters every game. Is this a turning point for the Ducks? Are they going from physical to purely speed and skill?
-- After having a couple great games, Luca Sbisa was not strong tonight. He was a -3. Must be having the off day just like me.
-- Three power plays tonight and three shots on goal. I like the idea of having four forwards (Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, and Ryan) with a defenseman (Fowler), but it's not working. I'm not sure if this is even possible, but perhaps there is too much fire power? Each forward is a playmaker. With the exception of Getzlaf, that's three 30 plus goal scorers trying to make their own play, clogging up the zone, instead of getting set up. Just looks disjointed to me. Until Lubo gets back, I think Francois Beauchemin should be back with Cam.
-- Second healthy scratch game in a row for Commissioner Gordon. Looking like he can't make it in Boudreau's system here as well, which is a bummer. I really like that guy.
-- As most of you know, I am not shy about sharing my adoration for Saku Koivu. That is why I am completely devastated right now. Saku played a team low 8:42 minutes. He missed part of the second and all of the third period with the always popular "lower body injury". There are a lot of possible injuries there. The Ducks haven't released his status yet, but I'm hoping it's a strained hammy or bruise of some sort. After an abysmal start, he has been one of the most consistent Ducks as of late. He, Teemu and Bobby were just starting to click. Now the lines are in a blender again. Get well soon, Saku!
-- Nick Bonino played more than two shifts tonight? I swear I only saw him twice - once at the beginning and once at the end.