Blues’ comeback attempt falls short in 3-2 loss to Ducks
ST. LOUIS — Anaheim goalie John Gibson has been pulled from a hockey game before. So he knew exactly how to react after a rough outing: No panic, no worries.
“It’s going to happen to everybody. It’s part of the game,” Gibson said after making 37 saves in the Anaheim Ducks’ 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Antoine Vermette had two goals and Kevin Roy also scored for the Ducks, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on to snap a four-game losing streak.
Gibson, who was pulled after giving up four goals on 22 shots in a 7-3 loss at Chicago on Monday, calmly refocused and came out with one of his best efforts of the season to improve to 8-9-1.
“We need him and we wanted to come out and play well in front of him,” Vermette said. “Tonight, he stood up big for us.”
Gibson stopped the first 36 shots he faced before giving up two goals to Kyle Brodziak in the final 3:48. Brodziak scored with 17 seconds left to bring the Blues within one.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle knew his veteran goalie would respond well.
“When you get thumped like we did the other night in Chicago, you look for a response,” Carlyle said. “(He) gave us A-quality goaltending.”
Jake Allen finished with 27 saves for the Blues, who had won four of their previous five.
Vermette snapped an 11-game scoreless drought with his first multigoal game since Nov. 25, 2015.
“It’s nice, but at the end of the day you just want to win,” Vermette said. “We’ll take it. It came at a good time tonight.”
Vermette deflected in a shot off his right glove just 4:17 into the game for the Blues.
Roy and Vermette each had power-play goals in a span of 2:28 early in the second for a 3-0 cushion.
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) November 30, 2017
The short-handed Ducks were playing without several key offensive players, including leading-scorer Rickard Rakell, who missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury.
“We’re facing a strange situation with a lot of adversity,” Vermette said. “We’re taking a lot of pride as a group and trying to battle through it.”
Gibson’s biggest save came midway through the second period when he stopped Jaden Schwartz on a breakaway.
The Blues had won their last four home games against the Ducks, but looked flat throughout most of the contest.
“A game like tonight, penalty kill could have found a way to win a game for us,” said Brodziak, who is on the PK unit. “Instead, we found a way to lose a game.”
The Blues still lead the Western Conference with 35 points.
“I don’t think we got to our game at all tonight,” St. Louis winger Alexander Steen said. “We didn’t play the way we had played previously and it bit us.”
NOTES: St. Louis C Patrik Berglund made his season debut after missing the first 24 games with a dislocated left shoulder. … The Ducks have scored first in 11 of 25 games. … St. Louis still has points in 12 of its last 15 home games against Anaheim.
Ducks: Continue a six-game road trip at Columbus on Friday.
Blues: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.