By Aaron Francis
The Ducks came home to host the St. Louis Blues, playing the back end of back-to-backs. In their last game the Ducks shutout the Coyotes 3-0 in Arizona. The Ducks had won 6 of their last 7 games and were on a three-game winning streak coming into action this game. John Gibson was in goal for the Ducks and Carter Hutton got the nod for the Blues.
The Ducks and Blues ended this period without breaking the scoreless tie. Early on in the game, the Blues tested Gibson with a few shots from the likes of Nail Yakupov that the Ducks goaltender easily handled. The best chance of the period, however, would belong to the Ducks as Kyle Brodziak would be called for a double minor after a hit on Rickard Rakell. The Ducks had chances from several players including a point shot from Cam Fowler but would not be able to capitalize on the long power play. Shots at the end of the period were 5-4 Ducks.
The Blues would break through this period, breaking the tie around the halfway point of the game. Things got going this period when Jared Boll and Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves. Each player got a few shots at one another before tiring themselves out allowing the officials to step in. An offensive draw for the Blues was won and the puck was sent back to the point. The shot was tipped wide allowing Patrik Berglund to backhand the puck past Gibson, 1-0 Blues. Things got worse for the Ducks as not long after the Blues goal Ryan Kesler would be called for interference. The Ducks penalty kill played strong allowing for a timely kill. The Ducks received their own power play chance after Jori Lehtera was called for hooking. However, they couldn’t find the back of the net and the period came to an end. The shots at the end of the second period were 17-12 Blues.
The Ducks were able to tie the game early in the period and allowed for overtime. The Ducks tying goal came on a delayed penalty as Korbinian Holzer sent the puck to Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks Captain sent a hard shot at Hutton that laid in front of the crease and Rickard Rakell was able to send it into the back of the net, 1-1 tie. With plenty of time left in the game St. Louis would have several chances to break the tie including two power plays. The first came as a result of a slash by Corey Perry, however, the Ducks penalty kill played great and did not allow a Blues shot. The second penalty came with less than 2 minutes remaining in the period as Nick Ritchie was called for slashing. The Blues had a few chances bud could not break the tie and the game would go to overtime. The shots at the end of regulation were 23-23.
The Ducks had just under 20 seconds of penalty time left on the Ritchie minor and were able to do so thanks to a save by Gibson that he held. Returning to regular 3-on-3 play the Ducks did not last long before the Blues began to cycle the puck in their zone. Jaden Schwartz was able to find Patrik Berglund who buried his second of the game to win it for St. Louis. The final shot total was 25-23 Blues.
The Ducks overall played a good game especially to close out back to backs, but they couldn’t find a way to win. Late in the game, they were not able to generate offense due to strong pressure from the Blues and the eventual penalty kill. Despite gaining a point the Ducks have to feel like they could have gotten more. The long four-minute power play stands out as a missed opportunity in a very tight game. An extra goal scored there could have made a huge difference to the Ducks as they would have had the lead and all the pressure in the game. These are things the Ducks can learn and need to take into their next match-up on Tuesday.
Rickard Rakell scored his 18th goal of the season and is tied for first on the Ducks in goals with Kesler.
John Gibson stopped 23 of 25 finishing with a .920 save percentage.
The Ducks lose their winning streak but carry a 4 game point streak.
Anaheim is 1-8 in overtime play and 2-1 in shootouts.
The Ducks will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at 7 pm PST.
Click below to see the highlights from the game.
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January 16, 2017