The Anaheim Ducks completed their first back-to-back of the season last night with a 3-2 regulation win over the St. Louis Blues. Ryan Miller got his first start (and win) of the season and Andrew Cogliano scored the game winner to allow the Ducks to go 1-1-0 on their two game road trip.
Both the Ducks and the Blues were playing back-to-backs, and both teams were coming off losses where they allowed 50 shots against. Which meant both teams were looking to respond well, and prove they could play a game without leaving their goaltender out to dry.
The first period was a bit lackluster, as one can come to expect with teams playing a back-to-back. Both teams were trying to find their stride in order to generate some sustained offensive pressure. The Ducks in general have struggled this season to generate sustained pressure in the offensive zone. A majority of their goals have come from off the rush.. so why change it? Late in the period, the Ducks blocked a shot attempt and the puck found its way to Maxime Comtois. Jakob Silfverberg sprung past the defense recognizing the opportunity. Comtois hit Silfverberg for the breakaway, who came in with speed and roofed it top right over Chad Johnson’s glove to give the Ducks the lead. The assist was Comtois’ fifth point in 6 games for the Ducks.
The second period began with the Ducks having a little more pep in their game. Adam Henrique was able to give Silfverberg a nifty backhand outlet pass to spring him on another breakaway. Silf went for the same spot, but Johnson got just enough of the glove on the shot to send it high.
Near the halfway point, the Blues were able to trap the Ducks in the offensive zone for an extended period. Miller was able to make a good save on Vladimir Tarasenko from the slot, but Tarasenko was able to retrieve the rebound, circle back around and find Joel Edmundson at the point. Edmundson had time to wait until Alex Steen was in front, and put a wrister on net. Steen got a piece of it and the puck deflected high past Miller, tying the game.
The Ducks managed to draw a penalty to go on the powerplay, but a minute in Ryan Kesler was called for slashing making the teams skate 4v4. The Blues quickly went to work generating several attempts with Miller making the saves. However, the Blues transitioned into their powerplay and didn’t waste much time with an extra man on the ice. Tarasenko fed a pass to Patrick Maroon beside the net. Maroon did a quick wrap around attempt and the puck got loose in front of the net. With several players trying to get possession of the puck, Tyler Bozak made contact and beat Miller on the left side.
Seven minutes into the period, the Ducks got the game back to even. Cam Fowler sent a pass along the blue line over to Josh Manson. The pass was actually going towards Brian Gibbons, who let the puck go between his legs over to Manson. This gave Manson time and space to load up a slap-shot. On the way to the net, Ben Street got part of his stick on it and the puck deflected past Johnson.
Not sure why Hayward is so high on Street in his comment, who scored just his second NHL goal of his career, but Ducks fans sure weren’t upset about him tying the game.
Another seven minutes past, the Ducks got another powerplay opportunity. Kesler circled from below the net and made a centering pass from the left dot, where Andrew Cogliano and Rickard Rakell were both waiting. Cogliano got a shot off into Johnson’s legs, but quickly banged in the rebound to give the Ducks the lead. The goal was Andrew Cogliano’s 100th as a Duck.
The Blues put on some pressure in the final minutes of the game, including pulling their goalie for a 6th attacker, but Miller stood tall as the Ducks won their 4th game of the season.
- Andrew Cogliano on the Ducks come from behind win
Best and Worst
Best - The Ducks looked much better offensively as they put up 31 shots on goal, which is the highest of the season (and the first time over 30). Comtois and Silfverberg continue to play well together as they both contributed another point.
Worst - Jakob Silfverberg left the game during the third period when a shot from Brayden Schenn hit his left hand. We won’t know more until later this week, but if Silf is out of the lineup for any extended period of time it spells bad news for the Ducks. He’s the Ducks goal and point leader at this point and he would add to the long list of injuries the Ducks are already dealing with.
Best - Ryan Miller proved once again that his age means nothing when it comes to goaltending. He didn’t face an onslaught of shots like Gibson did the night before, but he still turned aside 29 shots and made important saves when needed. He and Gibson stand as arguably the best goalie tandem in the league.
-Ryan Miller on the Ducks game tonight
Three Stars of the Game
1. Andrew Cogliano - the Iron Man scored his 100th goal as a Duck and it was the game-winner.
2. Ryan Miller
3. Jakob Silfverberg
The Ducks next game will be Wednesday, when they host the New York Islanders. Puck drops at 7pm PST.