Given how the game started between the Ducks and Blues, you would never have guessed that Anaheim would be the team who came out on top. Yet they got their act together and pulled off 4-3 defeat of St. Louis, the best team in the NHL. How big a deal is that? It was the first defeat of the Blues who were 37-0-1 when scoring three or more goals in a game..
Too bad the Ducks are not going to the playoffs. They could have made things interesting.
The Blues got on the board with a goal from Jaden Schwartz at 7:00 of the first period.
Anaheim tied up the game on the power play with a goal from Cam Fowler at 10:28, but a turnover cost the Ducks just a couple minutes later. David Backes happily converted at 12:22, rifling his shot past Jonas Hiller, who was back in goal after enjoying a rare night off on Monday evening.
In the second period, Nick Bonino tied up the game once more at 6:03. After a power play had just concluded, the Ducks remained in the Blues zone and finished up what they could not do with the extra man.
The Blues did not get to the top of the NHL without skill and determination and they regained the lead for the third time with a goal from David Perron at 4:47 of the third period. Perron took advantage of rebound and scored while sprawling on his belly.
The Ducks refused to give in.
Adding to the core of youth getting on the scoresheet, Devante Smith-Pelly notched his sixth of the year at 7:50. Smith-Pelly seemed very comfortable playing on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Tipping in Getzlaf’s pass behind Jaroslav Halak gave Anaheim just a little more spark.
“[Getzlaf] made an unbelievable play, breaking up a play in our zone,” said Smith-Pelly. “He then went down and made a nice move on the forward there. All I have to do is really put my stick on the ice and he’s going to find me.”
Seeing as the young folks had done their job, the old folks decided it was time to do theirs. The reconfigured second line of Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Jason Blake (a mere 116 combined years young) took the lead for the first time in the game. Blake scored off a Blues defenseman at 14:06. Selanne was in the vicinity, but the puck did not hit him.
It was the time since December 18 that Halak had allowed four goals in a game.
“It’s uncharacteristic of us to blow three one-goal leads, let alone just one one-goal lead,” said Carlo Colaiacovo of his team’s performance. “We’ve been really good at that all year. A couple of mental mistakes and mental breakdowns cost us tonight.”
The Ducks held on to their only lead for the rest of the game to earn two more points in the standings.
“They are the best team in the league for a reason,” said Blake. “They compete and have been great all year. We’re just trying to win hockey games. It doesn’t matter the situation we are in. It was a good effort tonight. It was a slow start in the first. I thought after that we did a great job.”
The Ducks will have to do no less of a great job on Sunday when the Boston Bruins, the reigning Stanley Cup champions, come to town.