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Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry carry Ducks over Blues

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In the only game on Sunday’s NHL docket, the Anaheim Ducks used three third period goals to pull away from the St. Louis Blues in Anaheim. The Ducks got off to a strong start to take an early 1-0 on the strength of a Bobby Ryan rebound. Anaheim actually started the game with the first seven shots of the game, but the tables were turned mid-way through the period as the Ducks were held without a shot for almost nine minutes.

Patrik Berlund scored his second goal of the year on a nice deflection from an Alex Pietrangelo point shot in the second period to tie the score at 1-1 going into the 3rd. From there, the Ducks blew the game open with three goals to start the final period en route to a 4-2 victory. Blues-killer Bobby Ryan lived up to his reputation as he ended the night with a pair of goals. That brings his total to 9 goals and 3 assists in his last 8 games against St. Louis.

Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak talked about the disastrous third period after the game. “I think we played a good 40 minutes,” Halak said. “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.”

Defending Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry also notched his first goal of the season—fittingly on Corey Perry Night in Anaheim.

Perry talked about “his” night after the game. “That was special,” Perry said. “It was a tremendous honor just to be acknowledged. I have to thank the organization for doing that. It was a great thing from the fans with the cheers. That was really nice.”

The win is just the latest in a three-game winning streak for the Ducks. The 3-1-0 start is the second best in franchise history—the only time they were better was in 2007. That season worked out pretty well for Anaheim.

The question mark around the Ducks over the last few seasons has been their ability to play defense. With guys like Lubomir Visnovsky and Cam Fowler, they certainly have defenseman capable of contributing to the offensive side of the puck. But the team defense has been strong to start the season—due in large part to Jonas Hiller’s spectacular play in the early going.

The all-star netminder has started all four games for Anaheim this season and looks like he’s shaken off any signs of the vertigo-like symptoms that sidelined him for the second half last season. Hiller has a 1.71 goals against average, a .934 save percentage, and a shutout over the beginning of the season. Just imagine what those stats would look like if the team showed up for their opener against Buffalo in Helsinki last week.

The Ducks will have no time to enjoy their victory as they faceoff against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. The two teams played a hard-fought 1-0 game on Friday night and the Sharks will be looking to snap their two game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Blues will head north to Los Angeles to play their 3rd game in 4 nights against the Kings on Tuesday night.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.