It might have been Corey Perry night at the Honda Center, but Bobby Ryan ended up with the number one star of the game. I don’t think Perry minded.
Perry was honored before the game for winning the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP as well as the Rocket Richard Trophy. Fans got posters and commemorative pucks to help them remember the evening. Perry finally scored his first goal of the season.
After scoring only one goal per game, the Ducks finally figured out that they could put the puck in the net more than once every 60 minute period. And they also learned that it was ok for the top line to get on the scoreboard. Good lessons to learn early in the season.
Bobby Ryan got his first of two goals early in the first period on a rebound that he roofed behind Jaroslav Halak. The Blues had given the Ducks a very early power play, but the goal came right as the penalty expired.
After a blistering start, outshooting St. Louis 8-0, the Ducks then went a little dormant and the Blues spent some time in the Ducks end. They continued to press, with Patrik Berglund scoring at 5:43 of the second period to tie up the game.
While uncertain what coach Randy Carlyle told the team between the second and third period, it probably had something to do with “score.” Wisely, Anaheim listened.
Within a five minute time frame, Francois Beauchemin, Perry and Ryan scored to make it 4-1. Beauchemin’s rocket from the blue line came at 1:31 after another power play expired, but Perry made certain the Ducks would register their first official power play goal at 3:40. Two St. Louis players were without their sticks, effectively making it 5 on 2. If the Ducks did not score then, that would have been pitiful.
Ryan sealed the goal scoring glut at 6:24 with his second of the evening. He had a breakaway opportunity and the puck trickled behind Halak, just over the line. Nikita Nikitin tried to clear the puck from his goaltender, but it was just a fraction of an inch too late. A review of the play confirmed that the puck did indeed cross the line.
“We knew that we would score eventually,” said Carlyle. “But the longer you go, the more pressure mounts and guys start squeezing the sticks. Even tonight, some pucks bounced away from us.”
Having a three goal lead made the goal from Alexander Steen at 9:38 sting less. There was still room for error, just in case. Fortunately, the Ducks did not need the insurance, but it was nice to have it anyway.
The Ducks now have won three in a row and get no rest before they meet up with the San Jose Sharks again tomorrow night. Can they make it four in a row? Regardless, this is still the best start they have had since 2006-2007, the year they won the Stanley Cup. And truthfully, 2006-2007 was the best start to the Ducks season in all of franchise history, so to say there has been vast improvement would be an understatement.
IN OTHER NOTES:
Matt Beleskey was inserted into the line-up in light of Jason Blake’s absence. Blake is out three months with a lacerated forearm and will have surgery to repair the tendon on Monday. Patrick Maroon was called up from Syracuse, but was a healthy scratch.
Visors are cool: Only two Ducks did not sport a visor in tonight’s game. George Parros, who has only worn one while recovering from a broken eye socket, and Sheldon Brookbank, who scored his first point in nearly a year. Every other player has the safety feature, including Ryan Getzlaf, who learned the hard way last season by breaking his skull with a puck, an accident that could have been avoided. This is a trend that is nice to see on the upswing.