The Anaheim Ducks arrived in St. Louis having lost the last five games at home in some fashion. A daunting road trip greeted them and it all started against the St. Louis Blues, who are coming off their first championship. Nevertheless, Anaheim had won its last three games at Enterprise Center and needed another quite badly. Devin Shore finally made an appearance in the lineup while Ondrej Kase was scratched. Michael Del Zotto slotted in for Jacob Larsson while John Gibson would return to the net. Oddly enough, I attended my first live Ducks game when I lived in St. Louis during my teenage years. A couple of years later, I moved to California for good.
David Perron rang an early shot off the post. A big scrum in front of John Gibson ensued, with Ivan Barbashev and Jay Bouwmeester denied during that sequence. The Ducks had a close opportunity of their own ending in shots by Brendan Guhle and Carter Rowney.
Rickard Rakell kick started a give-and go-goal with Max Jones and Ryan Getzlaf, who hit the net vacated by Jordan Binnington when he moved side to side. Four minutes in, the Ducks led 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, Derek Grant had a goal handed to him on a silver platter after a turnover by Alex Pietrangelo. The puck nicked off the skate of Nicolas Deslauriers and bounced in front of the net for Grant to tap in. Suddenly, Anaheim held a 2-0 edge.
"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason." Binnington's unadvised route back to the net allows Grant to score the goal that made it 2-0 Ducks. pic.twitter.com/6xKbE4x2Tq— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) November 17, 2019
Gibson stopped Sammy Blais who powered through the crease all the way from from the neutral zone. Then, Binnington kept out Fowler’s shot after a feed from Getzlaf. Gibson followed that by stopping Oskar Sundqvist.
Justin Faulk took a shot from long range, to no avail. Robert Bortuzzo was denied by Gibson as well. On the other end, Rowney got a great chance from in tight which Binnington blocked. Near the end of the frame, Ryan O’Reilly received a rare penalty for slashing Getzlaf in his own offensive zone.
On the power play, Henrique had a nice one-timer blocked by Binnington’s right leg pad. After it expired, Brayden Schenn’s shot off a rebound was thwarted by Gibson.
Vince Dunn took an innocuous looking shot that beat Gibson, and the Ducks now led 2-1. Zach Sanford and Robert Bortuzzo received the assists. After looking at replays, it became clear that Josh Mahura got a piece of the shot with his stick before it went in.
Shore was penalized for high sticking Bortuzzo, and the delayed penalty sequence yielded a couple of strong chances for the Blues. However, the Ducks had the better of the play during the penalty kill. First, Rakell’s shorthanded bid was gloved by Binnington. Then, Grant seized a turnover by Faulk and put a beautiful move on Binnington, freezing him before potting an unassisted shorthanded breakaway goal. It was his first career shorthanded goal and Anaheim held a commanding 3-1 advantage.
Gibson said no to Schenn point blank, and Shore nearly had a breakaway upon exiting the penalty box. Klim Kostin found Robert Thomas in front, but Gibson made the save.
Gibson went behind the net to play the puck, but was hit by the elbow of Sundqvist. Gibson had already been knocked down earlier in the period, and Sundqvist was sent to the box.
Fowler’s point shot ended up in Binnington’s glove. Then, Nick Ritchie couldn’t get it by Binnington as he skated on a power play unit with Getzlaf, Shore, Mahura, and Troy Terry.
Back at even strength, Faulk’s slap shot was frozen by Gibson. Binnington made his own save soon afterward by squeezing Terry’s shot between his pads. Unfortunately, Grant put the puck over the glass and received a delay of game penalty. It was a truly unforced error in an otherwise excellent night for him.
The Blues still had power play time on the clock, but Gibson blocked Schenn. He would also deny Sundqvist and a subsequent wrister by Bouwmeester.
Erik Gudbranson tried to get the Ducks an insurance marker, but Binnington was equal to the task. Gibson had to time his save carefully when Schenn shot a knuckling puck toward him.
Dallas Eakins was not pleased when Terry left the bench early and the Ducks were handed a too many men penalty with under seven minutes left. However, Anaheim would kill it successfully. Craig Berube pulled Binnington with around three minutes on the clock, setting up this magical moment.
That’s right: a hat trick for #Elite1C Grant. After a late high sticking penalty to Korbinian Holzer, the Ducks would skate away with a 4-1 win that felt like an oasis in the desert. Their record stands at 10-9-2. Yes, Anaheim was outshot as well as outchanced but did receive solid goaltending and capitalized on opportunities. While the Ducks are without the services of two crucial defensemen at the moment, the losing streak felt rather unfortunate. For at least one night, better things seemed possible for this group.
By The Numbers
Shots on Goal – ANA: 25 STL: 38
5v5 CF% – ANA: 30.00% STL: 70.00%
High Danger Chances For – ANA: 5 STL: 10
Heat Map and Stat Card below
**All stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
**Stat Card courtesy of hockeystatcards.com
3 Stars (as voted by the media)
1. Derek Grant - An obvious choice, and now he gets to name his friend’s child!
2. John Gibson - He stopped 37 shots, and the only goal against was basically friendly fire.
3. Ryan Getzlaf - The captain opened the scoring and assisted on the empty netter.
The Ducks head to DC to take on the Washington Capitals on Monday, November 18 at 4:00 PM Pacific Time.