Ducks heat up in third, top Blues
Corey Perry put his goal-scoring talents on display in front of the home crowd on a night when the Anaheim Ducks put his Hart and Rocket Richard trophies on display for all the fans at Honda Center to inspect and have their pictures taken with them.
Perry, linemate Bobby Ryan and defenseman Francois Beauchemin scored during a 4:53 span of the third period, and the Ducks rebounded from a sluggish second period to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night.
”He showed again why he scored 50 goals last year,” Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller said. ”He’s always in front of the net and just seems to know where to go to get those pucks. I don’t think he cares as much about those trophies as he does about winning. He’s a team player. And if he scores, we normally have a better chance to win.”
Perry, the first Ducks player to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP – also captured the Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. He was flanked by the two pieces of silverware during a pregame ceremony.
Perry was introduced to the crowd, and he skated to center ice to receive a framed collage of his achievements from Ducks CEO Michael Schulman.
”I got a lot of taps on the shin pads before the opening faceoff, and it was nice – especially coming from the other team,” Perry said. ”This was special. It was a tremendous honor just to be acknowledged. I have to thank the organization for doing that.”
Ryan scored the first of his two goals in the opening period, leading to his 20th multigoal game in the NHL, and added an assist on Beauchemin’s go-ahead goal at 1:31. Ryan Getzlaf and defenseman Luca Sbisa both had two assists.
Hiller, coming off a 31-save shutout against San Jose on Friday, made 28 saves. The only shots that got past him were by Patrik Berglund in the first period and Alexander Steen in the third, after the Ducks built a three-goal lead against Jaroslav Halak.
”I think we played a good 40 minutes,” said Halak, who made 19 saves. ”Then in the third period, we killed the penalty and they scored right away on a lucky bounce for their guy. It seemed like they took over and they scored two more goals. It was too late for us to start playing again, and we just have to learn from it.”
Beauchemin, whose turnover led to the Blues’ first goal, atoned for his mistake with a screened slap shot from the left point that beat Halak and gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead. Perry, coming off his first 50-goal season, got his first of this season from the edge of the crease with 16:20 left. It was the first power-play goal for the Ducks, who had been 0 for 15.
”We knew we would score eventually,” coach Randy Carlyle said. ”But the longer you go, the more the pressure mounts and guys start squeezing their sticks. Even tonight, pucks bounced away from us, but we’ll take the win.”
The Blues were 0 for 4 on the power play, and are 1 for 20 overall this season. St. Louis has allowed at least one power-play goal in each of their first games.
”It’s costing us games,” Blues captain David Backes said of the special teams. ”The two goals right after the kill ends, they might as well be penalty-kill goals. They never got out of our end. We never really established our five-on-five set there. But if you count those as power-play goals against, we’re minus-two on the special teams.
”We lose by two goals in our last two games on the specialty teams battle. We need to be better there. I think we got that second goal and we got a little momentum and a couple more chances that we didn’t bury. They’ve obviously got a great line that can make you pay.”
Anaheim went ahead 4-1 when Ryan swooped in on Halak and took a shot that hit the goalie’s right pad and dribbled in with 13:36 remaining.
”I think we had a little fire lit under us going into the third,” Ryan said. ”We had a terrible second and we were chasing the puck all over the place. And when the ice deteriorates like it did, we try to keep things a little more simple.”
Anaheim grabbed a 1-0 lead 2:20 in just as Nikita Nikitin’s holding penalty expired. Ryan, who scored over 30 goals each of the previous three seasons, got his first on a rebound of Beauchemin’s one-timer from the right point.
The Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan line had put a combined 21 shots on net overall through the first three games without any success. Last season, the trio also came up empty during the first three games before each of them scored in a home win over Vancouver.
”I would say it’s about time,” Carlyle said. ”They’ve had their fair share of chances, and tonight they were rewarded for some of the hard work that they’ve put in. They’re not going to get any easy assignments because they’re going to draw the top defensive pairs that the other teams have. So their work has just begun.”
Jason Blake, Anaheim’s second-line left wing, is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday to repair the lacerated tendon above his left wrist. He was injured during the third period of Friday’s win when Sharks defenseman Brent Burns accidentally skated over Blake’s wrist. Blake is expected to be sidelined at least three months.
Notes: This is the eighth time the St. Louis Cardinals have reached the World Series since the Blues joined the NHL in the 1967-68 season. The Blues won fewer than half their games in all of those seasons, except in 2004-05 when the NHL was shut down by a lockout. … The Ducks and Blues split last season’s series with each team winning twice at home. … Anaheim LW Patrick Maroon was promoted from Syracuse of the AHL to replace Blake on the roster. He didn’t play after taking part in the pregame warmup. … Blues C Andy McDonald missed his second game because of a concussion. His status will be updated Monday. … St. Louis is 63-51-15 since Davis Payne replaced Andy Murray as coach. Murray was 57-51-21 in his first 129 games.