I leave this space open for slow moving pucks in a shootout. - Dilip Vishwanat
The Ducks beat St. Louis in a shootout...in a game where neither team deserved a point.
First Period Recap:
The Ducks started the game on the penalty kill. No? Oh! Perhaps it was their terrible play and the way St. Louis completely dominated the game that gave that impression.
Not that it mattered. 5:01 into the game, Emerson Etem took a tripping penalty that allowed the actual St. Louis power play to shine and the Ducks quickly found themselves down 1-0.
The Ducks then continued to sit back and watch St. Louis play the game until 11:09 when Bobby Ryan finally got control of the puck and scored on the Ducks FIRST shot on goal in this game. That's right, the carryover from the loss in Dallas where the Ducks shot only once in third period lasted through the first 11:00 minutes of this game as well.
The momentum that the Ducks felt from Bobby’s quick tally wouldn’t last long. St. Louis dominated the Ducks in their own zone and found the back of the net with 4:30 left in the period. The change of the emotions gave St. Louis the upper-hand for the remainder of the first period. In the waning moments, Viktor Fasth gave up a fat rebound and the Ducks headed to the locker room down 3-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Second Period Recap:
The Ducks third line of Dan Winnik-Saku Koivu- Andrew Cogliano begins the period still being one of the teams best groupings. They’re definitely the trio to put on the ice when you need a moment to try and control the puck.
The two teams were outrageously physical. If you missed the action, here's a better idea of what that would look like: St. Louis hitting and the Ducks being hit. If the Ducks weren't being outplayed with the puck, they were being outplayed without the puck.
But, if we want a positive from the first period to the second, the Ducks didn’t look nearly as bad.
And then it happened...and it only took 1 minute and 41 seconds.
Just past the halfway point of the game, Teemu Selanne broke through and scored when the puck found him wide open at the side of the net. Moments later Andrew Cogliano banked one in off of netminder Brian Elliot. Finally, Bobby Ryan showed the patience of a true goal scorer, and the Ducks were up 4-3 in a matter of moments. Talk about a momentum changer.
The second period started, and continued, much like the first. It took some time, but when the alarm went off, the Ducks were off and running. They scored threee goals in a matter of 1:41. Talk about a collapse by the Blues!
Third Period Recap:
The third period saw Fasth draw an early penalty to give the Ducks a shot on the man advantage. While the Ducks enjoyed a power play opportunity, I'm sure no one was surprised that they were unable to make the most of a fortunate situation.
But St. Louis did. Just moments after they returned to full strength, a lazy Ducks defense let T.J. Oshie creep in and slide one past Fasth.
With the game tied at four, more line shuffling from the bench saw Koivu join Selanne and Ryan for what was an outstanding bit of hustle and play by the trio. After Selanne brought the puck across the line, he worked his way toward the net where Ryan's follow-up hustle led to a great pass to a wide open Koivu who slapped one home. With a 5-4 lead in hand, the Ducks were feeling confident.
Unfortunately that wouldn't last long. As the Ducks defended the lead the final moments of regulation Ryan Getzlaf took an untimely cross-checking penalty (shocking, I know) and the Blues capitalized on the man advantage [Ed. Note: Even more shocking! -CK] to send the game into overtime.
Overtime: The two sides exchanged plenty of chances, but the big savior came when the ref's called off the second Blues goal of the night for a player interfering with Fasth in the crease.
Tarasenko: miss, hits post
Steen: loses the puck yet it slides through Fasth, 5-hole. SCORE.
Bonino: SCORE! Ducks win!
The Good: It was talked about in the comments, but the biggest factor was the Ducks didn't give up. I know this team has had a history of hanging their heads in shame after giving up a few goals and not allowing themselves to fight for a win, but that didn't happen tonight. There's been a mention of how Bruce Boudreau began his stint in Anaheim by telling these players that they are good and need to believe in themselves and I believe this was the outcome of said speeches.
The Bad: The changing of the lines. I know we're in this place where the team needs some scoring boosts, but it means altering some things that actually work well for the team. When a key piece is removed from a functioning line, it messes with the rest of the mojo. Case in point, we barely saw players like Etem and Kyle Palmieri in the third period because the fourth line was out of commission.
The Ugly: Complete 60 minute games are not in this teams realm right now. We saw that in Colorado, definitely in Dallas, and again here in St. Louis. I understand the road is a different beast and that this second night of a back-to-back can be brutal, but the Ducks were not in the game from the get-go.
Unmentionable extra: My milk carton has a photo of a missing Corey Perry. Uh-oh.
Next Game: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ Chicago, 5:30pm.