Ducks Make St. Louis Sing the Blues with 5-2 Win

Dilip Vishwanat

The Ducks took control of this one early and let the Blues back into it a little bit in the third, but put together a solid game to earn two important points on the road.

Final Score: Ducks 5, Blues 2

First Period Recap: The start of this game was so quick and efficient for the Ducks it almost was a callback to some of the early games in October where they were able to jump out to a big lead and cruise the rest of the way.

The Ducks opened the scoring only 1:10 in, thanks to a lucky bounce.  The third line of Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik were cycling the puck down low and Cogs through it to the front of the net from the goal line for Saku Koivu, but bounced off of the skate of Barrett Jackman (not to be confused with Tim, or Ric for that matter).

About three minutes later, the Ducks caught another slight break as Alex Pietrangelo cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.  On a dump in during the ensuing power play Nick Bonino found a trailing Ryan Getzlaf with time and space high in the zone.  Getzlaf hesitated to give Corey Perry a chance to get in front of Jaroslav Halak before wristing it on net.  Perry got a deflection on the puck that beat Halak to make it 2-0.

Two minutes after that Getzy knocked an areal cross ice pass out of mid air in the neutral zone and brought it in on Halak himself. This time it was a pretty shot that beat the Blues goalie, and his night was over just seven and a half minutes in, as the Ducks took a 3-0 lead and Brian Elliott relived Halak.

Toward the end of the period the Blues were able to grab some momentum, starting with a really nice move by Vladimir Terasenko pulling the puck of the wall and directly into the crease.  In the scramble around the crease, the puck actually slipped through the legs of Frederik Andersen, but Hampus Lindholm (who was initially beaten by Terasenko off the wall) cleared it back through Andersen's legs and out of the zone.

After that the Blues had a minute or so of sustained pressure in the Ducks' zone with a number of chances, the next best being a rebound off of the end boards that T.J. Oshie wasn't quite able to handle.  With four and a half minutes left, hometown boy, Patrick Maroon was sent off for a high sticking double minor against Vladimir Sobotka.  The Blues kept the zone for most of the four minutes and got five shots on goal, but weren't able to pull any closer before the end of the period.

Second Period Recap: Only a minute into the second period, Sobotka was high sticked again and drew a double minor again, this time against Sami Vatanen.  The penalty kill for the Ducks was much better in the second period, not allowing any shots during the full four minutes.

After the penalty was killed David "Ingloroius" Bakes, proud American hunter of Canadian Olympians (I'm pretty sure that is his full legal name) tried to get momentum on the Blues' side by fighting Corey Perry, but the Ducks' leading scorer refused to drop the gloves.  In true Perry style, he did get a couple of shots in on Backes with the gloves on though, resulting in some 4-on-4 hockey.  The 4-on-4 allowed the Ducks a little bit of offensive zone time, but nothing of much significance for either team.

At the end of the period Maroon found Bonino with a cross crease pass and Bones got a quick shot off to extend the Ducks' lead to four.  It was a really nice pass, but my favorite part of the goal is that you can actually hear Maroon calling for the drop pass from Tim Jackman.  I'm not sure if he knew that Bones was there, or he was just throwing it toward the net and hoping for the best, but either way it worked out and the Ducks were firmly in control heading into the final 20 minutes.  If St. Louis was going to do anything to get back into the game, they'd have to do it very early to start the third period.

Third Period Recap: And that's exactly what happened.  Just 1:18 into the third Oshie made a power move from behind the net to curl around and get the puck to Jaden Schwartz on the far post.  Bryan Allen was there, but mostly just watched Oshie instead of doing anything constructive to tie up Schwartz or clear him from the front of the net.

The Blues kept the pressure up and made the most of a turnover by Fistric to make it a game with just over 13 and a half minutes to go.  Fistric was trying to clear the zone, but dumped the puck right into the midsection of Patrick Berglund.  That caught Fistric flat footed and Berglund was in all alone on Andersen and he lifted it high stick side to cut the Ducks' lead to two.

Immediately following the second St. Louis goal Dustin Penner got in on a partial breakaway and was held by Pietrangelo.  It could have possibly been called a penalty shot, but I think the Ducks were fine with taking the two minutes over a Dustin Penner penalty shot attempt.  Still they didn't make much out of the opportunity.

With just under four minutes remaining Tarasenko nearly got around Fistric on the boards, like he had done to Lindholm in the first period, but Fistric pulled him down.  Again, the Ducks penalty kill, and Ryan Getzlaf in particular, came up big against the second best power play unit in the league.  The short handed unit had the only shot on goal while Fistric was in the box and as he was released Cogliano set him up for the empty net goal to seal the 5-2 victory.

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The Good: Regardless of the three goals, the Ducks played very well in the first period.  Their passing and skating through the neutral zone was better than it's been in weeks (caveat: I missed all of the Chicago game except the highlights, stupid broken DVR).  Also the defense did a good job to clear rebounds away from Andersen and limit the Blues' second chances.  They also got goals from three of four lines, instead of just relying on the PPG line to provide all of the offense.  Basically it was the exact opposite of how they played against the Kings on Tuesday, which is a very good thing.

The Bad: Bryan Allen standing in front of the net doing absolutely nothing on the first St. Louis goal was pretty rough.  That's what the dude is there for, to be a presence in front of the goalie and not allow that type of stuff to happen.

The Ugly: Not much really, this was a pretty solid game all around by the Ducks and it shows in the score.  They jumped out early and cruised the rest of the way, only getting caught on a couple of mistakes.

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3rd MVD: All of the Defensemen - I came in specifically watching to see if they had improved since getting hammered by the Kings on Tuesday and aside from the two goals, which can both be laid at the feet of defensive mistakes, I was impressed.

2nd MVD: Andrew Cogliano - as a representative for his line with Winnik and Koivu.   He ended up with a goal and an assist, but the line as a whole was very good and has been ever since Koivu returned to the lineup from his concussion a few games ago.

1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf - As he has been for this whole season and last, he was just a beast all over the ice.  He had a goal and an assist, and killed it on the PK.  Especially one shift during the Fistric penalty at the end of the game where he hounded the puck from the Blues' goal line all the way back into the Ducks' zone stole it off of the stick of whichever Blue it was and zipped it back down the ice.  I love that kind of stuff.

Next Game: Monday, December 9 -  7:00 p.m. PST Back home to the New York Islanders

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