The Anaheim Ducks flew into St. Louis Saturday and looked mighty tough, beating the Blues 5-2 at Scottrade Center. The Blues, sporting one of the league’s better home-ice records (12-2-2) looked out-classed by the Ducks and were never in the game, falling behind 3-0 after one period of play. St. Louis has been out-scored 9-1 in the opening frame in its last 4 games.
Jaroslav Halak played just over 7 minutes in the 1st, allowing 3 goals on 8 shots and was pulled in favor of Brian Elliott who did everything he could to keep the Blues in the game, stopping 13 of 14 shot against. It wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start as it took St. Louis over 40 minutes to get on the scoreboard. Entering the 3rd period down 4-0, Jaden Schwartz finally beat Frederik Anderson, stuffing in a rebound off a TJ Oshie wrap-around attempt.
Five minutes later, Patrik Berglund cut the lead to 4-2, netting his 2nd goal of the season on a very strong move to the net. The play started with Kevin Shattenkirk in his own zone moving the puck up-ice quickly and was one of the only bright spots for the Blues in the game. The momentum shifted in favor of St. Louis, but only briefly.
The high-powered St. Louis power-play was held in check by Anaheim, failing on 5 attempts to score, and the 3rd period effort was for naught. The Ducks added an empty-net goal to seal the win and the Blues were left to pack up and head on the road for a tilt Tuesday in Winnipeg. It was Anaheim’s first regulation win in St. Louis since 2008.
Slow starts have been killing the Blues lately, costing them 3 losses in their last 4 games. Playing a full 60 minutes of hockey was a problem at times last season and it’s becoming an issue once again. Whether it’s in the 1st period or the 3rd, 10-20 minutes of effort isn’t going to win you many games in the NHL. St. Louis sits in 5th place in the Western Conference but still has games in hand on the teams above them in the standings. They’ll have to get back to playing a full game every night if they hope to use those to their advantage.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!