The Ducks got a big tying goal from a 22-year-old and a game-winner from a 21-year-old on its way to a 4-2 comeback victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues at Honda Center.
The 22-year-old, Bobby Ryan, potted his 20th of the year 8:18 into the third period to deadlock the game, and 21-year-old Matt Beleskey put Anaheim ahead for good with just 2:40 left in the contest. Beleskey’s goal was just the second of his career, but the second in as many nights, another game-winner that put Anaheim ahead 3-2 into crunch time.
And in the final minute, some veteran experience stepped in to put the lid on things as 36-year-old Todd Marchant filled an empty net to secure the victory.
"The room is confident right now," Ryan said. "This group is one that has everything. All the tools are put in place for us. We’re going to and continue to roll with it. It’s going to be a couple of tough buildings on the road coming up here."
Ryan’s tying tally was yet another for the highlight-reel, as he was alone on the attack, 1-on-1 with Eric Brewer before slinging a shot through the defenseman’s legs and finding the far corner of the net past surprised goalie Chris Mason.
"For me, it was huge," Ryan said. "I had some shots earlier in the game. For me to get that one, it was a huge morale boost. It gives you a second wind, it really does. Brewer had his stick out there. I thought let’s get it through his legs and hope for the best. I never saw the puck go in. I knew where I was shooting and luckily hit it."
Beleskey put the Ducks ahead by being in the right spot following a wide-open shot from the slot by Corey Perry, as the rebound came off Mason to the top of the crease and the rookie chipped it through.
"It’s really helping playing with them," Beleskey said of his pairing with Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. "They control the play down low almost every shift, so if I get to the net, there is a good chance there is going to be a rebound or something lying around."
Marchant’s empty-netter, his third in the last 16 days, put the clamps on Anaheim’s fifth straight win at home. It also handed a rare road loss to a St. Louis team that carried a 11-4-4 record away from home into tonight’s contest. They took an OT loss last night in San Jose for their seventh straight defeat overall.
The Blues drew first blood 5:35 into tonight's game on a shorthanded tally by Barret Jackman. Jay McLement won a draw in the offensive zone, sending it back to Jackman, who tagged a one-timer over Jonas Hiller’s right shoulder.
Anaheim ultimately broke even 6:44 into the middle session on a goal by James Wisniewski not long after an unsuccessful power play that included 1:16 of 5-on-3 time. Twelve seconds after the second Blues penalty ran out, Wisniewski rocketed a slap shot from the point that got help from a Petteri Nokelainen screen.
St. Louis pulled ahead just 56 seconds into the third on another from Jackman, as his slap shot from the point pinballed off the stick of Corey Perry and the leg of Ryan Whitney before fluttering past Hiller's outstretched arm.
But Ryan’s tying strike and Beleskey’s go-ahead marker made that goal mostly a distant memory.
"It was one of those tough games to grind out," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "At times, it wasn’t a pretty hockey game, but we found a way to win. That is the most encouraging thing for us because we found a way to lose these hockey games before. This time we found a way to win it."
At HOME, Anaheim has earned standings points in six straight (5-0-1) games, the longest standings point streak at Honda Center since Feb. 17-Mar. 26, 2008 (10-0-0). The club has also earned points at HOME in 10 of the last 11 contests (8-1-2) and in 13 of the last 15 (11-2-2).
Over the last 14 games at HOME vs. St. Louis, the Ducks improved their record to 11-2-1 (dates back to Dec. 18, 2002).
Bobby Ryan has earned 4-2=6 points in the last seven games and 7-8=15 in the last 15. His club-leading 20 goals on the season rank first in the NHL among US-born players. He’s also earned points in four of the last five games at HOME (4-3=7).
In the last six contests, Saku Koivu has earned 3-4=7 points.
With an assist tonight, Troy Bodie earned his first NHL point.
With his second career NHL goal tonight, Matt Beleskey has scored a goal in each of the last two games (2-0=2).
Jonas Hiller has gone 7-3-0 in his last 10 starts, stopping 299-of-321 shots for a .931 SV % and 2.24 GAA (22 GA/590 MIN) during that span.
Tonight’s attendance was 14,248.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Solid comeback by the Ducks, who get goals fromo Ryan and Beleskey in the third and insurance from Marchant to win it 4-2.
19:17 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - TODD MARCHANT - With the Blues net empty, Marchant picks up the puck near th ewall and heads down the ice with Johnson in front of him. He makes a quick cut to the middle and sends the puck past a diving Johnson into the empty cage. Third empty-netter by Marchant in the last two weeks. Assist from the defensive zone goes to Troy Bodie for his first NHL point. It's 4-2 Ducks and this one is over.
18:50 - Mason to the bench.
17:20 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - The rookie does it again, and again with help from his star linemates. Perry moves into open space in the slot and takes a shot that kicks off Mason in front. Beleskey is right there to punch in the rebound from the top of the crease. A little help from Getzlaf, who ran into Jackman and took him out of the play. It's 3-2 Ducks with 2:40 left.
16:00 - Ducks again get close as Marchant kicks a pass backward in front, but Bodie can't connect.
15:42 - Ducks come dangerously close as Getzlaf carves out some room in the slot and pulls back for a wrist shot. Saved.
14:41 - Ducks nearly get one as Marchant tries a wraparound and Bodie tries to punch in the loose puck with some violence around him.
Ready to Roll by Jet Black Stare, the song they traditionally play in here with about five minutes left? I like that one.
12:21 - Ducks take their timeout with 7:39 left. Carlye drawing up the Go-Ahead Goal Play.
8:18 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Ridiculous goal by BR, who is alone on the attack 1-on-1 with Eric Brewer with two other Blues back defending. Out of nowhere, he slings a wrist shot through Brewer's legs that Mason isn't ready for and it finds the corner of the net on the far side. Ryan jumps into the glass before being mobbed by the likes of Sexton and Koivu and we're tied on Ryan's 20th of the season.
7:52 - Nice job by Festerling to dive and knock away the puck from Oshie on a partial breakaway.
6:48 - Heck of a job by Hiller to slide out of the crease and control a rebound off an Oshie point shot.
4:56 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. goaltender interference. With the puck fluttering high in the air in front of the St. Louis net, Perry runs into Erik Johnson, who knocks down Mason. Okay then.
3:30 - Chipchura makes a run at BJ Crombeen, sending him partly into the St. Louis bench near the divider. Nice hit. Crombeen doesn't seem too pleased with it though.
The sound of our crowd groaning after an opponent goal has to rank up there with crying baby and barking dog among my top 5 least favorite sounds of all time.
0:56 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - BARRET JACKMAN - Jackman gets his second of the game in somewhat fortuitous fashion, firing a slap shot from the point that immediately hits the shaft of Perry's stick, then kicks off Whitney's leg to fool Hiller and get by his outstretched arm. Bad goal and it's 2-1 St. Louis.
0:35 - Nice Hiller stop on a Perron backhand.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Wisniewski pots one at 6:44 and we're tied 1-1.
20:00 - STL Penalty - Brad Winchester, 2 min. slashing. A little bit of help for the Ducks on that penalty kill. Clock runs out before the Blues touch up, so those two minutes will go into the third, meaning it will be 4 on 4 for 22 seconds before the Ducks go on the PP.
18:22 - ANA Penalties - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. tripping and 2 min. kneeing. Niedermayer takes down Perron near the wall and during the delay, throws a knee into Berglund. Yikes.
16:15 - Shot from the point by Sexton his Mason and flutters behind him just wide.
15:12 - Wisniewski gets the puck jiggling in front after a rocket from the point, but Mason covers in time.
15:00 - Ducks are 1 out of their last 27 on the power play.
14:13 - STL Penalty - Roman Polak, 2 min. Polak nicks Beleskey in front of the Blues net.
12:05 - Sexton gets slammed into the wall by Colaiacovo (NHL record-holder for consecutive vowels) after speeding down the ice and trying to slip a pass in front.
8:55 - Beleskey, knowing this town's affection for rookie's who fire the puck, shoots one from near the wall that Mason just does stop deep in his own net.
6:44 - ANAHEIM GOAL - JAMES WISNIEWSKI - Twelve seconds after the penalty expires, Wisniewski has the puck at the top of the left wing circle and tattoos a slap shot that sizzles high past a Nokelainen screen and dents the net. We're tied 1-1. First goal since Nov. 21 for Wiz.
6:32 - Blues have killed 49 of their last 51 power plays on the road. Whoa.
5:35 - Whitney fires a one-timer for the first shot on net during the PP. Saved by Mason.
4:32 - STL Penalty - David Perron, 2 min. hooking. Sexton chases down the puck in the slot with his back to the cage and Perron hooks him. Ducks are 5 on 3 for 1:16.
3:48 - STL Penalty - David Backes, 2 min. interference. Not long after finishing the time for the fighting major with Perry, Backes slams into Wisniewski on a Blues rush. A Getzlaf backcheck guided him into it.
2:55 - On the rush, Nokelainen skids and slips a nice pass to Chipchura who throws a shot into Mason's leg pads.
1:50 - Beleskey sidles into nice position to take a headman pass behind the D, but loses the handle.
0:00 - Puck drops for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - This one seemingly goes by in a flash with the Ducks down 1-0 on a Jackman goal.
15:23 - As the puck heads the other way, back near the Anaheim blue line, Perry (Team Canada selection) and David Backes (Team USA) drop the mitts and the helmets and get after it. It's mostly a wrestling match with a couple of punches slightly landing on Perry before he's taken down. They're both off for 5. Perry and Backes are two of five guys from last year (Getzlaf included) to have 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes.
It's Ducks Trivia Challenge time and Brett -- who looks positively giddy with three Power Players around him -- is asked which Duck scored his first NHL game last Tuesday with the Red Wings. Festerling, Bodie or Beleskey? He says Beleskey and he's ... come on, if you're reading this you know if he was right or not. He wins ... damn, I wasn't listening.
13:28 - A little pushing and shoving and mean faces after a Hiller glove save.
11:50 - Getzlaf charges hard toward the circle, skids to a stop, spins and shoots. Off the side of the net. Fooled some in the crowd a bit though.
At the half in the BCS Championship, Alabama is leading Tex ... ZZZZZZZZZZZ ... Sorry, not a college football guy. I prefer my sports to have -- you know -- actual champions.
10:30 - Beleskey gets close to his second one in as many games, but he can't punch it through while standing in the crease.
8:45 - Big Sexy trying to make things happen with some speed.
7:10 - Ryan just misses slapping it on net from the bottom of the circle.
5:35 - STL GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - BARRET JACKMAN - Jay McClement wins the draw, sending it right back to Jackman, who rips a one-timer over a surprised Hiller's right shoulder. It's 1-0 St. Louis.
5:19 - STL Penalty - Erik Johnson, 2 min. hooking. Nokelainen draws it by getting in front of Johnson to try a redirect off a Mike Brown pass.
4:10 - Ryan swings into the slot and fires a shot over the cage. Too bad. Right in his wheelhouse.
1:02 - After a point shot bounces off some pads, Boyes gets on a breakaway and fires a wrister that Hiller denies.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Pregame 7:07 p.m. - Cute little Jenny Swoish overcomes some audio feedback on the first couple of notes to sing a splendid anthem. Bouncing back from adversity. Something either of these teams could be inspired by tonight. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.