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.