Ducks Beat Blues 4-2, Match Record Home Winning Streak

Jeff Gross

"These go to eleven" -Nigel Tuffnel and the 2013 Anaheim Ducks

Final Score: Anaheim Ducks 4, St. Louis Blues 2

First Period Recap: Strange circumstances to start the game as Nick Bonino dressed, but did not play. During the first period Eric Stephens tweeted that he was on the bench, that was later corrected by the Ducks and they announced he had the flu. Either the flu came on very suddenly or they figured even a sick Bonino was better than a healthy Brad Staubitz. In any case, the Ducks were forced to play with only 11 forwards for the entire game. [Ed. Note: Eric Stephens tweeted the Ducks kept Bones on the bench through the beginning of the game so St. Louis wouldn't know they were a man down. - JN]

The Ducks got off to a good start. The Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik, Andrew Cogliano line spent an entire shift forechecking, forced an icing, and Ken Hitchcock burned his timeout before the five minute mark. However, it was St. Louis who struck first as Ryan Reaves tipped a Wade Redden point shot past Jonas Hiller. This ended a 140-plus minute shut out streak set by Hiller and Viktor Fasth.

The Ducks had two power play opportunities in the first, but came up empty. The first was marked by some questionable zone entry attempts/good defending from St. Louis. They had chances on the second, mostly in tight, but the Blues collapsed on the crease hardcore. The "point shots" were essentially coming from just inside the top of the circles, which helps Cam Fowler.

Second Period Recap: The key moments of the second period centered around a 5-on-3 power play the Ducks got about five minutes in. Bruce Boudreau took his timeout, when the second call was made for a strategery session, and it showed, but not necessarily in a good way.

The Ducks were trying a lot of things on the two man advantage, there were a lot of passes and a lot of player movement, but only one quality opportunity in 1:30 of PP time. With four seconds left in the second penalty, Corey Perry was tabbed for interference in the slot.

As the St. Louis PP wound down, Cogliano chipped a puck past two defenders at the Ducks blueline, turned on the jets for a short handed breakaway and put a quick wrister past Jaroslav Halak, low blocker. Tie game, 1-1.

The Ducks got another power play with just over a minute left in the period...

Third Period Recap: ... But it didn't work out. Immediately afterward, Bobby Ryan got called for a pretty bad tripping penalty. He slid to stop a Blues player from exiting the zone, got his stick right on the puck and the Blue tripped over him. Naturally Patrick Berglund scored less than 30 seconds into the PP with David "Inglorious" Bakes blocking out the sun in front of Hiller.

Even though it was a marginal call, Bobby redeemed himself 1:30 later by pouncing on a fat rebound from a Francois Beauchemin point shot to tie the game at twos.

Half a minute after Bobby's goal, Roman Polak was sent to the box for tripping and the Ducks finally capitalized. They figured out St. Louis' collapse strategy, umbrella'd the PP got the puck to Ryan Getzlaf, who faked a slapper, hesitated and got his wrist shot through, tipped in by Perry.

With two and a half/three minutes left the Ducks created a new strategy of icing the puck approximately 452 times in a row to burn the rest of the time. nobody told Teemu Selanne though as he chased one down to negate the icing -- dude had the wheels going tonight but not the hands. After that the Blues were able to pull Halak and Perry skated it to center before putting the game out of reach with the empty netter.

**********

The Good: It's a familiar theme this season - resiliency. The Ducks came back from two one goal deficits to win tonight, bringing their home record to 11-1-0 at the exact half-way mark of the season, with a franchise record 11 straight (tied, 12/8/09-2/10/10). Remember that 5-0 loss to Vancouver on the home opener? Me neither.

The Bad: The power play went 1-for-7, including an ineffectual 5-on-3 in the second period. The one was the game winner, so it's tough to be critical, but if the PP looked like the top ranked unit in the league, this could have been a runaway.

The Ugly: Ummmm..... I guess the flip side of "The Good" above, falling behind, but that doesn't seem to faze them this year... so... pass?

**********

Most Valuable Duck:

3rd MVD: Corey Perry - Right place at the right time. Two goals, including his fifth game winner of the season, tied for second in the league with James Neal, behind Jeff Carter (6).

2nd MVD: Francois Beauchemin - Everything he always does, plus three assists.

1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf- $66 million looks good on him. His "assist" on the game winner (one of two on the night) was a work of art, not to mention a shorthanded rush, a massive hit and holding the blue line on the PP like he was plucking a fly out of the air with chopsticks.

Next Game: Tuesday, Mar. 12 at 5:00 pm PT, at Minnesota

P.S. Chicago lost in regulation for the second game in a row. Clearly it just wasn't sustainable and they aren't a real cup threat.

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