On a night when they were given a stiff test facing a fellow Stanley Cup contender, the Anaheim Ducks failed in spectacular fashion, losing their second consecutive game in regulation, this time by a 5-2 final score to the St. Louis Blues. After winning 11 consecutive games, the Ducks are now winless in each of their last three, managing only one point.
The Ducks, who lost their first game in regulation in more than a month in their previous effort, looked to get back to their winning ways, but their effort would prove fruitless as a complete defensive collapse in the third period saw them surrender four goals, three of them unassisted.
"We can't make those defensive mistakes. We haven't seen them happen. We don't want to see them happen anymore," said head coach Bruce Boudreau after the loss. Indeed the mistakes would prove to be the difference, as the Blues would tear the Ducks defense apart late by capitalizing on the turnovers they were gifted.
After tightly contested first period with no goals either way, Ryan Getzlaf opened the scoring at 5:17 of the second frame on a tip-in goal on a 5-on-3 power play. The Ducks, who were held without a power play goal in each of their last two games, immediately gained some momentum, however they were unable to stretch the lead thanks to a solid outing from goaltender Jake Allen, who earned his fifth straight win. Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen saw his own streak come crashing to a halt, losing his first outing after rattling off seven straight wins.
The collapse began late in the second frame, when Paul Stastny tipped a shot-pass behind Andersen to tie the score at the 16:36 mark.
The third period proved to be the most disastrous for the Ducks as they gave up two more goals within the first three minutes to the surging Blues, the first to Jori Lehtera and the second to Patrick Berglund, both off egregious turnovers from the Anaheim defense. Late in the period it was superstar Vladimir Tarasenko who earned both his 31st and 32nd tallies of the season, both unassisted, just 1:16 apart. The latter was into an empty net.
Rickard Rakell was credited with the other goal for Anaheim after a clearing attempt from Troy Brouwer hit a skate and caromed into the Blues net, coming at the 15:27 mark of the third. That goal would make things interesting, however it would be ultimately futile after Tarasenko's double ultimately slammed the door shut for the Ducks.
Anaheim also suffered yet another loss on defense as Kevin Bieksa left the game with an injury and did not return.
The Ducks will now return home for three more contests, all against Eastern Conference opponents. The stretch begins on Monday, March 14th when they face the New Jersey Devils.