Saturday nights’ game against the St. Louis Blues was almost a splitting image of the game that took place the night prior – another first period where the Anaheim Ducks came out sluggish, and also where the Ducks gave up a pair of power play goals. Here are my honorable highlights of the game:
Stellar save(s): The ones that stood out to me were both saves from Brian Elliott. First, Elliott challenged Teemu Selanne who almost had a clear breakaway. Elliott was way out of his crease and dodged a bullet with not only Selanne, but also of other Ducks lurking. Also, Elliott made a huge save on Francois Beauchemin who was part of a 3-on-1 break and he lifted it on his backhand.
Flying Ducks: In the middle period, the Ducks managed to put three behind the net in a matter of one minute and 41 seconds — goals from Selanne, Andrew Cogliano and Bobby Ryan. I can’t quite put into words how they accomplished that after how they looked in the first, but it happened and it definitely helped tilt the ice.
Controversial call(s): If I were a fan of the Blues it’d be hard for me to not lash out. St. Louis had two goals waved off — by David Perron and Ian Cole — as a result of Anaheim pushing bodies around in their crease. Both calls could’ve gone either way, as Ryan and Beauchemin both pushed a Blues’ player into goaltender Viktor Fasth, but the goals were immediately waved off. I’d be fuming, but instead I’m doing a questionable happy dance.
Negative note: If you haven’t had the honor to watch the last two games be grateful. Both games exhibited utmost disappointments in the 1st. To draw a more clearer picture, the Ducks have given up 17 goals against in the first — the most in the NHL. It’ll be hard for this team to win games if they start out playing catch up.
Positive point: Despite the lack of production in the 1st, Anaheim makes up for it with their performances in the 2nd. The team has 15 goals scored in the 2nd, which is the most in the league. They also kept the hot rookie Vladimir Tarasenko off the scoresheet and held him to zero shots.
Lucky Duck: This one is a toss up between Ryan and Nick Bonino. Ryan’s scored two goals last night and the first was a downright fluke. It was off an innocent floater that squeezed through the arm and body of Elliott. I think the real winner is Bonino, who participated in his first shootout and won the game for his team. The shootout went into six rounds, and it was up to Bonino to score to give the Ducks the win. He cruised down the slot and put it five hole to solidify the win.
The Ducks’ next game on the road is Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. If the Ducks want to stay afloat, they’re going to have to play a full 60 mins, as the Hawks are 10-0-2 to start the season.
For more information throughout the season and to watch my NHL highlights for Fox Sports Net follow me on twitter @m_drinnenberg and on Facebook here.