Anaheim’s performance in Chicago combined with losing Brandon Montour to an elbow injury made St Louis a heavy favorite. However, Paul Kariya himself made a special appearance at the game. St. Louis should know better than to tempt the emotions of the hockey gods like that and the results spoke for themselves.
The Ducks’ breakout was noticeably, dare I say, effective in the opening five minutes of the games. They were able to open up the middle of the neutral zone and carry the puck into the offensive zone. After a few shot attempts toward Jake Allen, Kevin Roy popped a shot over a sprawled St. Louis goalie and off of Antoine Vermette. It looked as if the veteran center put the puck in off his glove, but the referees upheld the goal after a quick review. 1-0 Anaheim.
The best stat early on tonight was that Anaheim completely controlled the puck and did not allow a St. Louis shot the opening six minutes. Since the Ducks were able to control the play in the O zone, the Blues never had a chance to play the puck. It is almost like that could be a winning strategy. Keep it up.
St. Louis nearly tied the game at 1. Tarasanko accepted the cross-ice pass and got off an almost perfect shot, but the puck hit the crossbar and went out of play.
Vermette wanted to make things interesting after his opening goal. He took two penalties in the opening period including a very dangerous cross-checking minor. He needs to be more responsible moving forward to allow more 5v5 play.
The period ended with the Blues carrying a 12-10 advantage in shots.
It’s nice to finally have a left-handed forward on the first power play unit. Kevin Roy scored off a one timed shot from a Cam Fowler feed. Having a left-handed shot on an off wing gives the opportunity for a quick shot, and it paid dividends. I have been talking about this for years so hopefully Roy continues to get a shot in this situation. 2-0 Ducks only 33 seconds into the second.
It’s happening. The Ducks scored another power play goal and this time from the compliments of Antoine Vermette. Vermette’s second goal of the game came as a result of a Kevin Bieksa point shot. Chris Wagner was able to get a small tip on the puck, which created a rebound off Allen’s pad. Even though Vermette was quite far from the net, he had enough time to snap the puck into the net. 3-0 Ducks at 3:01.
Last year Carlyle would send out the fourth line after most Ducks goals. “Luckily” most forwards on this team can be in that category. However, without Jared Boll in the lineup the game has been changed. Anaheim actually pushed play in the St. Louis zone after scoring both goals. Now that is how you follow up a goal. It is always great to continue to set the tone the shift after a goal.
Grant had a golden chance all alone after Nick Ritchie elected for an early pass on a 2 on 1. As fate would have it, Grant did not even get a shot attempt. Hampus Lindholm also had an opportunity to increase the lead but rang a point shot off the crossbar.
You knew Gibson would have to make a statement some time during the game. His best stop of the middle frame came against a Jaden Schwartz breakaway. A bad Josh Manson pinch combined with a poor change allowed the Blues forward to go in all along. Gibson was able to not only make the first stop, but make a solid positional stop on the second.
The Ducks received a four-minute power play courtesy of a Vlaiamir Sobotka high sticking penalty on Kevin Bieksa; however, absolutely nothing happened so let’s just forget about that one.
As Guy Herbert said during the second intermission, the goal is to keep “the pedal to the metal.”
Well things did not off to a great start, as Jakob Silfverberg never made his way back to the Anaheim bench. Logan Shaw was forced to move up to the second line with Chris Wagner and Andrew Cogliano. The injury left Anaheim with only two top 6 forwards from their playoff run last year. (Cogs and Perry).
You knew the game wasn’t over.
Kyle Brodziak ended Gibson’s shutout bid with less than four minutes to play in regulation. Brodziak was able to come up with the puck in a scrum in front of the Anaheim crease and put it through a sprawling Gibson. 3-1 Ducks.
Kyle Brodziak scored again with 16 seconds left in the game. The winger single handedly got through Bieksa (not exactly a huge accomplishment) and drove toward the Anaheim net. Brodziak got a quick shot up into the top corner past Gibson’s glove to cut the lead to one.
Even with the late nail biter, the Ducks were able to pull out the victory against the Western Conference’s #1 team. Finally something positive to build on. Anaheim will be back in action Friday in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.