The St. Louis Blues came into the Duck Pond seeming to have learned some lessons from their previous night’s game in Arizona. St. Louis came out with a fury and started peppering the net.
The Blues got eight shots against the Anaheim Ducks before they even got an answer. John Gibson made some decent saves and the Blues were disappointed to not cash in.
Making matters worse, the Ducks scored on their first shot of the game. Anaheim broke in past the Blues defense and connected on a back door tap in to make it 1-0.
In recent past, the Blues found an immediate answer. Instead, it went the other way and the Ducks scored on their very next shot. This time the shot came from distance and may have taken a slight deflection, but even if it went in clean, it was not a good start for the Blues.
The Blues regrouped and settled down. However, St. Louis didn’t regain the same offensive fire, only getting four shots for the rest of the period.
The second period was a different story. It was not quite the same hot start to the period, but it was steadier.
St. Louis got a lot of luck too. Jordan Kyrou got the first one with a shot off the Ducks defender.
Even more luck came on the tying goal. Niko Mikkola took a shot from the left that went off the goalie, off the defender and off Vladimir Tarasenko’s leg to make it 2-2.
Four minutes later, Ivan Barbashev gave St. Louis the lead. This was a quality goal, set up by Jordan Kyrou on the near wall to find an easy tapper for Barby.
Two minutes after that, Justin Faulk smashed another one in. His third in two games gave St. Louis a 4-2 lead with 5:22 left in the second period.
The way the third period opened, it seemed as though both teams would just see it out. Anaheim hadn’t given up, but the Blues weren’t allowing them anything similar to what they allowed against the Coyotes.
Instead of leaving it to chance, the Blues added a couple more. Pavel Buchnevich had a great game to that point and scored on a rocket to get his just desserts and make it 5-2.
Less than a minute later, Marco Scandella continued his resurgence. He scored at 5:37 of the third to make it 6-2 and six unanswered by the Blues.
St. Louis absorbed some pressure later in the period. Mikkola blocked an almost sure goal and then Ville Husso made some key saves midway through the period to keep it 6-2.
The Ducks added a late goal to make it 6-3. The defensive lapse was a little disappointing, but given the gap, it was able to be stomached since Ryan Getzlaf picked up a pretty assist in his last NHL game.
Pros: John Hamm
Logic has told me that luck is a foolish thing to believe in. The way a puck bounces or a game turns is often up to statistical probabilities, even if they may seem like anomalies.
However, when something as odd as a famous St. Louis actor being in the booth whenever the Blues score, it feels like there’s something more to it. Why fight a good thing, right?
The last time Hamm was in the booth in a regular season game, the Blues sparked a come back against the Los Angeles Kings a few years ago. He was in attendance for the Winter Classic and St. Louis won.
While St. Louis was getting pressure, they failed to score until Hamm entered the booth to chat with John Kelly and Darren Pang. The Blues rattled off four, unanswered goals with the Mad Men star on the air.
He doesn’t have a lot of flare on the mic, but he gets the job done.
Cons: Two early goals againt
Any time an opponent scores on the Blues, there are fans assigning blame. This defender didn’t do this or the goaltender didn’t do that.
There was plenty of that when the Blues got score on in Arizona and even in Anaheim. The difference is the Blues were dominating and only had momentary lapses that the Ducks capitalized on.
Assign blame where you want, but the fact is the Blues had two goals scored on them on two shots. You an argue that’s actually good defense and just bad luck, but it doesn’t pass the sniff test.
Yes, the Blues had not allowed many chances against. However when you allow quality scoring opportunities on the only shots you allow, it’s not the best way to go.
Any goalie will tell you, they’d like to see a few shots early, even if junk shots. It gets them into the flow.
Husso never had a chance because the first one he faced was an unstoppable back door play. I’m not sure he saw the second shot or not either. Regardless, it just did not look good, especially since the Ducks only got one other shot in that period.
Pros: Offense humming
St. Louis has been scoring goals for fun in recent times. They had 12 straight games of four goals, or more, until their clunker against Boston.
They’ve scored 14 goals in their following three games after that OT loss. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to score six unanswered goals against the Ducks.
There was plenty of lucky bounces involved. Kyrou barely felt like celebrating because he knew he didn’t “score” that goal.
The same was true of Tarasenko. He barely knew where the puck was.
You need those breaks over a season. Sometimes you need those breaks against mediocre teams.
It’s all the same as the Arizona result, even if it came in a different way. Just get the goals.
Sign John Hamm up. JK has been kind of boring lately anyway, so it wouldn’t be much change.
Ok, that’s a joke. It’s all coincidence, but it’s a fun coincidence.
There’s a small part of me that feels bad for Getzlaf. I was at Keith Tkachuk’s final game and the Blues won, so it’s nice to have that send off. Oddly, that game was against Anaheim, but I digress.
The bottom line is that the Blues turned it up and did not allow that bummer of a first period to distract them. They were by far the better team throughout 60 minutes and it was just a bad stretch that gave Anaheim the lead.
Sports go that way sometimes.
The disappointing thing on the night was the Blues not catching a break in the standings. The Minnesota Wild came back from a two-goal deficit almost at the same time as St. Louis.
Nashville forced overtime, but the Wild scored the game winner with 1.5 seconds left. So, the Blues are still hanging onto the tie breaker right now, but the Wild still have a game in hand.
Minnesota plays Arizona, Calgary and Colorado to end the year, but all are in Minnesota. The Blues are on the road at Colorado and then home against a hungry Vegas team.
There’s no time to worry about other results. The Blues just have to keep this going, but at least they’ve managed to knock off the basement teams of late.