It might have been Corey Perry Night at Honda Center but it was his linemate, Bobby Ryan, who sparked the team to their third straight win in the young season. Bobby opened up the scoring in the first period as a power play expired and later added an insurance goal the third period on a great pass from Ryan Getzlaf that Bobby managed to squeak by Jaroslav Halak.
The Ducks came out strong in the first period before seemingly growing complacent in the second and allowing St. Louis to tie the game 1-1. In the third period, the Ducks finally potted their first power play goal of the season as Corey Perry slammed home a rebound to make it 3-1 Anaheim after Francois Beauchemin netted his first of the season only minutes earlier.
Tonight's good, bad, and ugly after the jump.The Good
- The Ducks top line came alive tonight, accounting for 3 goals and 3 assists. A member of the top line was involved in every Ducks goal tonight and they arguably could have connected for a few more goals than they did. The line still isn't clicking at 100% but they certainly showed their scoring touch tonight.
- Even though the Ducks were officially only 1 for 4 on the power play, both Bobby Ryan's first goal and Francois Beauchemin's tally came just as the power play expired. Both units looked much better tonight, with the top line just missing out on a few pretty plays while the second unit threw puck after puck at Halak.
- The bottom two lines continue to impress. I thought Andrew Cogliano had a particularly strong game as his speed and determination kept several plays alive longer than I thought possible. Matt Beleskey slotted in nicely on the fourth line (Brandon McMillan was promoted to Jason Blake's spot on the second line) and I thought he looked competent in his first bit of NHL action tonight.
- Team defense has been great so far this season. Aside from a few prolonged possessions in the second period, the Ducks really kept the Blues' opportunities to a minimum. Although St. Louis outshot Anaheim 30-23, they didn't enjoy too many great offensive chances. The Ducks' defense also showed up on the scoresheet, as Luca Sbisa and Francois Beauchemin each finished with two points apiece.
- The Ducks' penalty killing continued their stingy ways, blanking the Blues on their four power play chances. After giving up two power play goals in the season opener against Buffalo, Anaheim's PK unit has been stellar over the last three games, going a perfect 100% over their last 13 short-handed sessions.
- Although his 3 points and +2 rating alone deserve mention here, I'm particularly proud that Bobby Ryan didn't put himself ahead of the team after scoring his second goal early in the third period. He had several opportunities where he could have tried to complete the hat trick all on his own, but he wisely passed to one his linemates who were in a better position. Then, with the Blues' net empty at the end of the game, Bobby made a selfless play to softly father a puck back behind the St. Louis goal instead of trying to maneuver for a shot that could have been blocked.
- The second line still hasn't really shown up. Brandon McMillan filled in capably on the second line but that group still just hasn't looked dangerous. Teemu Selanne did pick up an assist on Perry's power play goal, but the line was on the ice for the first Blues goal where they seemed to just be outworked by St. Louis.
- Although he had a good night overall, I'm sure Jonas Hiller would like that second goal back. Alexander Steen managed to squeeze a shot through on the short side against Hiller to give the Blues life in the third period. In four games, it's probably the first truly bad goal Jonas has given up, and thankfully it came when the team had a three-goal lead.
- Maybe I had unreasonable expectations, but I really expected more out of Corey Perry Night. I mean, for a franchise that has never had a Hart trophy winner, I was looking for a little more than a short video (with music that was completely tonally off, in my opinion) and Corey stopping for a brief photo-op next to his trophies. I know that Perry is a really quiet guy and probably preferred to keep the spotlight to a minimum, but I just felt like we were missing something.
- I got nothing here. The team is 3-1 after four games! There's nothing ugly about that.
Six out of a possible eight points is a great start to the season and tomorrow's night should be a good test for the team. It will be their third game in four nights and the Sharks figure to be a little feisty after their shutout at Anaheim's hands on Friday night. Here's hoping the Ducks continue to deliver the solid effort that's seen the team off to it's best start since the magical Cup season of 2006-2007.