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By Adam Brady
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Blue Crush

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 10:21 AM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
Blue Crush

This is what your life was like when you were 19, right?
If the Ducks have an eye on the future, they had to like what they saw last night.

Anaheim's first three scorers in a fulfilling 4-3 win over the top-ranked Blues -- Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino and Devante Smith-Pelly -- average 20.67 years of age, and they set the table for relative old guy Jason Blake to net the clincher in the third.

With the Ducks nine back of the eighth spot with seven games left in this topsy-turvy season, meaningful wins are hard to come by. But Anaheim has managed to get a couple in a row, slowing the rival Sharks' postseason climb on Monday night and taking down the team with the NHL's best record last night. The Blues have 100 points, were the first team to clinch a playoff spot when they beat Tampa Bay last Saturday night and came into last night's game with a ridiculous 37-0-1 record when scoring at least three goals.

But the Ducks tarnished that mark, becoming the first team to score four goals on stingy goalie Jaroslav Halak since the Blue Jackets on December 18.

Three different times last night the Ducks went down a goal, and three different times they caught the Blues, taking their first lead when Jason Blake banked one in off the back of defenseman Ian Cole's skate. 

"I saw [Evgeni] Malkin do it last night," joked Blake, who was looking to feed a crashing Teemu Selanne. "I knew 'T' was going and I just threw it. Fortunately it went off their defenseman's foot or leg or whatever it was."

To those in the crowd, it looked initially like Selanne might have jammed it in, and even he and Blake weren't sure. "I said, 'That went off you, right?'" Blake said. "And he goes, 'Something hit me. But they've got video, so we'll just check it out.' It was all good fun."

That may not have been the prettiest goal in the world, but the ones that the 20-year-old Fowler, 23-year-old Bonino and 19-year-old Smith-Pelly had definitely were. Fowler hammered home a slap shot on a first period power play after Ryan Getzlaf gave him a nifty between-the-legs touch pass at the point. Getzlaf also came through on Smith-Pelly's big tying goal in the third, pushing his way behind the net before delivering a backhand pass that DSP chipped through. And sandwiched in between those, Bonino picked up a loose puck after Kyle Palmieri's shot was blocked, then expertedly waited out Halak before slinging it just under the crossbar.

Meanwhile, Jonas Hiller did his thing two nights after finally getting a night off, making a number of athletic saves among his 35 on the net, including a few while the Ducks clinged to that one-goal lead over the final six minutes. And the Ducks got a little inspiration from Bruce Boudreau after a sluggish first period that followed a day of only off-ice workouts for the team. He told reporters that he told his guys, "if you're going to play like this after a day off, you won't have any more days off. It's pretty simple We looked like we were in mud. And we were looking in awe at the St. Louis Blues because they're No. 1 in the league."

It's hard to believe, after watching the way they played the last two games, that the Ducks still sit in 12th in the West, well short of a playoff spot with seven to go. (If there ever was such a thing as an at-large berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Anaheim would almost certainly be the top candidate.)

As it is, the Ducks can only look at those last few games and keep giving it all they have.

"I think that's the professional thing to do," Blake said. "It's been obviously a crazy season. We're trying to win hockey games. It doesn't matter if you're in it or out of it or you're fighting or whatever the situation may be."

Said Bruce Boudreau, "I don't think at any point we've just thrown in the towel. It's the same as the season. We were dead and buried in December and January. We're still not eliminated yet."


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If you were in the arena last night or watching the game on TV, you might have seen the feature below on the Ducks getting fitted for the Lady Ducks Fashion Show luncheon,  being held today in Newport Beach. The highlight of the video is Lubomir Visnovsky's outfit, complete with blue pants, which leads him to claim, "I'm like business man from Slovakia from 1985." Take a look:

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Last but not least, a great tweet last night regarding the Ducks' diversity:

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 59 19 39 9 58
C. Perry 47 24 17 12 41
R. Kesler 62 15 22 -4 37
S. Vatanen 57 12 22 6 34
M. Beleskey 56 21 9 13 30
P. Maroon 54 7 21 -3 28
H. Lindholm 59 6 22 19 28
J. Silfverberg 61 9 17 7 26
C. Fowler 61 5 21 -5 26
K. Palmieri 37 12 11 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 29 8 5 .916 2.37
J. Gibson 6 5 0 .915 2.69

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