Final Score: Anaheim Ducks 1 – St. Louis Blues 0
The first period started out strong and fast for both teams. Daniel Winnik had the first solid shot on goal for the Ducks but was turned away by St. Louis Blues’ goaltender Bryan Elliot. A lot of quick line changes were made during the first few minutes of play for Anaheim. Andrew Cogliano scored the first goal after just 3:39 of play, assisted by Saku Koivu and Cam Fowler after a turnover from the neutral zone. Corey Perry had a lovely shot attempt around the 15 minute mark, but no dice. Then, Blues’ Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk blasted one around 14:30 to go. As the period progressed, the Blues and Ducks took turns possessing the puck. With around 10:30 left to play in the first, the Blues’ Alternate Captain, Alex Pietrangelo attempted to score, but was shut down by Tim Jackman’s hit and Nick Bonino’s puck clearing play. With 8:30 left to play in the first, there was quite a scuffle involving a mixture of both Ducks and Blues players, including Ryan Getzlaf, Dustin Penner, Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, David Backes, and T.J. Oshie. Going into this game, there was anticipatory tension between the captains of both of these teams, so scraps like this one were expected. With 8:17 left to play in the first, a five minute major and two minute minor, served by Patrick Maroon, against Perry, and a two-minute minor against Backes was called after another quarrel broke out. Just a few minutes passed, then Koivu, Oshie, and Patrik Berglund went at it over another play. With just 1:40 to go on the penalties and the teams playing a 4 by 4 hockey game, Ben Lovejoy and Hampus Lindholm did a great job clearing the puck from the Ducks’ defensive zone. With 6:58 left to play, Winnik tried to send a wristshot into the net but it was a no-go. With both teams full strength once again and a little over 5 minutes to play, Shattenkirk, sent another one-timer towards Jonas Hiller, but was denied. With just one minute remaining to play in the first period, Blues’ forward Jaden Schwartz had a big shot, but the Ducks’ defense was able to gain possession of the puck and wasted some time behind their net. The period ended with six shots on goal for St. Louis and four for Anaheim. The Ducks showed a good effort in cycling the puck and making good passes in front of the net. However, there seemed to be a bit of fatigue on the ice and a little bit of rustiness in the plays. The power play opportunity that the Ducks’ had resulted in no goals.
After the 20 minute intermission, both teams started off the second period strong and continued to pass the puck around to increase scoring opportunities. With 17:15 remaining, the Blues received an icing call. The Ducks were able to take a face-off and attempt to rush the puck to Bonino and Mark Fistric, but no luck. Lindholm then got a hold of the puck, yet experienced passing troubles in front of the net and was denied an opportunity. Shattenkirk attempted another shot but was denied by Hiller. Later on, Matt Perrault received a nice pass from Teemu Selanne, yet wasn’t able to seal the deal because the puck wasn’t in his “wheelhouse”, the zone in which the shooter receives the puck for the best scoring opportunity. Winnik returned to the second and had several shooting opportunities but wasn’t able to seal the deal either. With 11:07 left to play in the second, Matt Beleskey boarded St. Louis’ Carlo Colaiacovo and had to serve a 2 minute penalty. Luckily the Blues weren’t successful in scoring during this penalty. After that penalty and with 6:30 left to play in the second, Penner tried to backhand a redirect pass to Getzlaf but was unsuccessful. Perry shot a one-timer at 4:45 left to play and was hit in the face by a St. Louis Blues’ player, but a penalty was not called. Bonino passed along the puck to Beleskey, which was fired towards Elliot, but was deflected by his leg pad. With one minute remaining in the second period, while mid line change, Perry came blazing up center ice and kept the puck in neutral territory. The Ducks played a better defensive period. The SOGs for St. Louis added up to 13, while the Ducks had 10. The Ducks defended the corners more so during this period, yet gave more shooting opportunities to their opponents during the penalty that was given to Beleskey at 11:07 into the second period. Overall, the Ducks’ played a decent period and had a lot of big hits and kept control of the puck.
The start of the third period resulted in an injury to Matt Perrault that sent him to the locker room with 17:39 left to play. At 17:23 left to play, Mark Fistric was given a penalty for cross-checking Oshie. This resulted in the third power play opportunity for St. Louis. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock for the power play, Getzlaf had a great breakaway opportunity, which helped shield the Ducks from allowing a scoring opportunity for the Blues. With 15:17 left to play, Shattenkirk fired away at Hiller, but was denied. Bryan Allen wound up a big shot, but the puck was swallowed up by Elliot. With 8:54 already played in the third, Maxim Lapierre from the St. Louis Blues received a penalty for diving and Fistric for cross-checking. Hiller made a nice save in the chest against Alex Steen. Colaiacovo also had a big shot, which was swallowed up by Hiller during the St. Louis power play. When both teams returned to full strength, the Ducks continued to move and “dump” the puck, while maintaining strong defense. With 4:30 remaining in the third, Berglund had a convincing crossbar shot, yet it did not get past the goal line. With 2:30 remaining, St. Louis had a few more scoring chances, yet the Ducks’ continued to clear the puck and push it up towards their offensive zone. With one minute remaining, the Blues were called off-side, Hiller was able to make a few more saves, and Perry had an empty net goal opportunity but wasn’t able to seal the deal because the clock expired. The Ducks played a much more physical and defensive period, capping off their 1-0 victory over St. Louis for the 3rd time this season. The Ducks started off their first of five home games right with a win, and head coach Bruce Boudreau came away with his 300th NHL career win.
1. Andrew Cogliano
2. Jonas Hiller
3. Alexander Steen (St. Louis Blues)
My Three Stars:
I believe that these three starts are appropriate based on the performances from these players. But, of course I think that the third star should have gone to a Ducks’ player instead of Alexander Steen. I believe that the third star of the game should have gone to Daniel Winnik; who had a lot of shots for the Ducks tonight and kept the momentum going for the team. Winnik has been kind of quiet on the ice lately and really seemed to step up his game tonight.
The Ducks take the ice again tomorrow, 2 March, at 5:00pm as they host the Carolina Hurricanes.