ANAHEIM – It’s safe to say that Bobby Ryan’s scoring slump is long a thing of the past.
Ryan’s second hat trick of the season almost became an afterthought by the time the Ducks polished off a 7-4 rout of the visiting St. Louis Blues at Honda Center. It was Anaheim’s sixth victory in the last seven and a fifth straight defeat for the Blues.
Ryan’s three goals gave him six goals in the last three games, pretty much erasing the memory of a rough December during which he scored just one goal in 10 straight games. Tonight, Ryan had the first two tallies of the game, but his biggest of the night came early in the third to give the Ducks some much-needed insurance. St. Louis had used a strong second period to pull within a goal at 3-2. But just 30 seconds into the third, Ryan tipped in an Andreas Lilja shot with his back to the net to bring the ballcaps raining down from the Honda Center stands. It was Ryan's second hat trick of the season and the third of his career (though his first at home).
It also opened the gate to three more Ducks goals in the third – by Corey Perry, Lubomir Visnovsy and Brandon McMillan – that slammed the door on this one. Although, the last seven minutes of the game included two meaningless St. Louis goals and a number of fights between the two combatants.
Two Ryan goals helped the Ducks to a 3-0 lead after a well-played first period. Ryan scored the game’s first goal 3 1/2 minutes in on the power play, taking a pass from Lupul in the bottom of the right wing circle and slinging a wrist shot off the inside of the far post.
"It was a weird play," Ryan said. "It came off the cycle and I tried to push it low. Lupul made a great play through the slot area to find me. I had a lot of net to shoot it."
Less than four minutes later, Jason Blake got an unorthodox goal, as he tried to feed from behind the net in front to Saku Koivu, who whiffed on the one-timer. But the puck deflected off the skate of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and went in the net.
The work of Perry deserved much of the credit for Ryan’s second goal, which came with 1:43 left in the first and gave Anaheim a 3-0 lead. Perry, just named an All-Star for the second time yesterday, fell to the ice while battling with Eric Brewer behind the Blues net. From his back, he was able to reach out and tap the loose puck in front, where Ryan was there to hammer it home. "I was in the right spot at the right time," Ryan said.
St. Louis managed to turn the tables in the second, and got two goals from recently named All-Star David Backes in less than three minutes. After Matt Beleskey turned the puck over on a dump attempt, Vladimir Sobotka made a headman pass to set up Backes on a breakaway, and he beat Jonas Hiller with a wrist shot. The goal broke a scoreless streak of 178 minutes, 34 seconds for Hiller, a stretch in which the Ducks scored 10 unanswered goals.
Backes struck again at 6:15 into the period, taking a feed from Sobotka again on the rush and firing from the left faceoff dot past Hiller stick side.
That was as close as St. Louis would get, as the Ryan goal early in the third was followed by a Perry wraparound at 6:17 as goalie Ty Conklin got caught behind the net. Visnovsky rifled a slap shot off Conklin’s glove seven minutes later, and Brandon McMillan tipped in a beautiful Andy Sutton feed on the power play with 4:44 left. The Ducks were three of four on the power play tonight.
Subsequent scores by the Blues’ Ryan Reaves and Brad Boyes were far to little, far too late on a night when the Ducks scored seven for the first time this year.
"He’s a goal-scorer and he scored goal-scorer-type goals," coach Randy Carlyle said of Ryan. "It’s nice to see that he’s finally being rewarded in the last little while."
Ryan has been filling in at center in the absence of Ryan Getzlaf (sinus fractures), and Carlyle said, "I know it’s been difficult to transition from wing to center. It didn’t come as smoothly as we all liked. But we persevered and he has persevered. Hopefully that is just a springboard for him to continue on with the offensive threat that he is."
The game marked the end of a heck of a homestand for Anaheim, which won five of six. The Ducks head to Phoenix for a game with the Coyotes on Saturday night.
"We’ve realized that on a homestand you really need to come out and put your best foot forward," Ryan said. "The month of December was a little bit ugly. We’ve gone on streaks all year long. We need to come out at home, establish the forecheck and our identity."
The Ducks have won three straight games (3-0-0), six of their last seven (6-1-0) and have gone 11-5-1 overall in the last 17 contests.
Anaheim completed its six-game homestand with a 5-1-0 record. The club is 9-3-0 at Honda Center over the last 12 contests and is 16-7-1 at HOME this season, earning 33 of a possible 48 standings points.
The Ducks have gone 19-for-20 (95.0%) on the penalty kill since the third period of the club’s contest on Dec. 28 at Phoenix. The club did not allow a power play goal for 18 consecutive power play attempts by the opposing team until 17:58 of the third period in tonight’s contest (seven-game span)
Over the last three games, the Ducks have outscored their opposition 14-4. Tonight also marked Anaheim's first seven-goal game since Apr. 11, 2010 vs. Edmonton (7-2).
Over the last three games, the Ducks have gone 6-for-10 on the power play (60%).
Tonight marked Bobby Ryan’s third career hat trick and second this season (also Nov. 27 @ PHX). It was the 30th hat trick in franchise history. Ryan has scored three of the club's last four hat tricks (Corey Perry had his first career hat trick on Dec. 12 vs. MIN). It was also Ryan’s first career hat trick at HOME.
Ryan’s 3-1=4 points tonight is a career high. He has a three-game goal (point) streak, scoring six goals (6-1=7) in that span. Ryan has reached the 20-goal plateau (21-14=35) for his third consecutive season.
Jonas Hiller had his scoreless streak snapped at a career-high 178:34 minutes. The Ducks scored 10 straight goals during his scoreless streak. Hiller’s scoreless streak was the 11th-longest since the lockout (start of 2005-06 season). Over the last three games, Hiller has gone 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA (4 GA/180 MIN) and .959 SV% (94-of-98). He also has a .956 SV% (219-of-229) and 1.43 GAA (10 GA/419 MIN) over the last seven games (6-1-0).
Lubomir Visnovsky matched a career high with 1-2=3 points tonight (12th time, last: Oct. 22, 2009 w/EDM vs. CBJ, 1-2=3). Visnovsky has a three-game point streak (1-5=6), 3-5=8 points in the last six games, 4-6=10 in the last 11 and 5-11=16 in the last 16. Including tonight’s three-point effort, Visnovsky has recorded 10 multi-point games this season (he had 10 multi-point games in all of 2009-10). He is on pace for a 65-point season, which would be his highest point total since his career year in 2005-06 with LA (17-50=67).
Corey Perry, who had 1-1=2 points tonight, has scored 3-3=6 points in the last seven games, 6-5=11 points in the last 11, 9-8=17 points in the last 14 and 12-12=24 in the last 22.
With two assists tonight (0-2=2), Teemu Selanne now sits just one point shy of 1,300 points in his career (618-681=1,299 in 1,223 career games). He has 2-3=5 points in his last four games and 2-9=11 points in his last 10 games. Selanne’s 1.05 points-per-game ranks 12th in the NHL. He is five years older than anyone else in the top 15 (TB’s Martin St. Louis ranks fifth with 1.20 points-per-game and is 35 years old).
Rookie Cam Fowler has 0-5=5 points in his last three games. His 0-2=2 points tonight marked his fourth career multi-point game. Fowler leads all NHL rookies in assists and ranks tied for fifth in points. He also leads all rookie defensemen in points.
Tonight’s attendance was 12,499.
20:00 - END OF GAME - This one finally comes to an end, 7-4 Ducks.
19:45 - Crowd applauds as all the Ducks who fought come out of the box during the break in the action.
17:58 - ST. LOUIS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BRAD BOYES - On the two-man advantage, Boyes goes to a knee to one-time a shot from the left wing circle that beats Hiller on the near side. Absolute silence in here on that one and it's 7-4 Ducks. Ducks not finishing this thing in style right now.
17:44 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant, 2 min. delay of game. Marchant flips it over the glass.
17:22 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. hooking and 5 min. fighting and STL Penalty - Vladimir Sobotka, 5 min. fighting. Things are getting out of hand now as Beleskey and Sobotka tangle away from the play and Beleskey busts Sobotka with a number of punches before they both go down.
16:20 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - RYAN REAVES - D'Agostini takes the puck away from Visnovsky and fires point blank on Hiller, who makes the stop, but Reaves punches in the rebound to make it 7-3.
15:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BRANDON MCMILLAN - Andy Sutton takes the puck from Marchant and delivers a beauty of a feed across the ice to McMillan on the doorstep and he one-times it through to make it 7-2.
14:05 - ANA Penalties Luca Sbisa, 5 min. fighting and Joffrey Lupul, 10 min. misconduct and STL Penalties - Eric Brewer, 5 min. fighting and Brad Winchester, 2 min. kneeing and 10 min. misconduct. Another brawl, this one involving all 10 skaters, erupts after Winchester gives Lupul a hard check into the wall, and it concludes with Sbisa and Brewer getting into it with the gloves off. Sbisa lands a couple of big rights and takes Brewer down. This has been some game. PA announcer Phil Hullett starts his announcement by saying, "We have a series of penalties to announce for you..." drawing a laugh from the crowd.
13:50 - The fisticuffs continue as Lapierre and Crombeen get into it right off the draw, with Crombeen landing a couple of shots to the back of Lapierre's head before taking him down. Lapierre points at the scoreboard as he head to the box. Kinda like that.
13:47 - Parros and Jackman drops the gloves, with Jackman taking down Parros and getting in a late shot, prompting George to pop back up and land one of his own. A mmarathon bout ends with Parros landing a couple of rights and lefts before getting Jackman to the ice. Heck of a bout. This crowd has gotten its money's worth and then some tonight.
13:20 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Fowler gets the puck to Visnovsky, who launches a rocket from straight away that hits off Conklin's glove and dives well under the crossbar. It's 6-2 Ducks. Wow, when it rains it pours.
13:00 - STL Penalty - BJ Crombeen, 2 min. tripping.
10:10 - Sbisa flattens Steen into the wall.
6:17 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Conklin goes behind the net to play the puck and gets pretty much stuck in it trying to get back in front. As this is going on, Perry taps the puck to himself off the back wall and stuffs it in on the wraparound. It's 5-2 Ducks and we're going to Hooters!
6:10 - Ducks keeping the pressure on.
3:45 - Visnovsky passes up the shot, sends to Selanne in the circle and he one-times wide. Slightly off target for 8 tonight.
1:50 - Scary moment in front of the Anaheim net, but Hiller is able to dive on it and smother.
0:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - HAT TRICK!!! Fowler does a nice job to go D to D in front of the blue line to Lilja, who tags a slap shot that Ryan tips in with the stick blade with his back to the net. Third career hat trick for Ryan, first at home. It's also a big one, giving the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Not a good one for the Ducks, as two Backes goals in less than three minutes pull the Blues to within one.
19:13 - Perry races down and beats Johnson to the puck to avoid the icing, but the official calls it anyway. Perry not happy. Not a good call.
16:10 - Ryan hits Selanne on the right wing and his shot beats Conklin but rings the crossbar. Tough break.
14:34 - STL Penalty - Brad Winchester, 2 min. elbowing. Winchester gets Visnovsky in the face on a hard hit.
13:29 - Lapierre races out on a 2-on-1, but a diving Brewer forces him into a less threatrening shot, which Conklin stops with the leg pad.
11:04 - Hiller with a big stop and hold on a Pietrangelo shot, if only to stop the St. Louis momentum for a bit.
6:37 - Perry cuts to the middle and just misses getting is past Conklin, as the puck nearly pops in on the rebound as well.
6:15 - Timeout Ducks.
6:15 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - DAVID BACKES - Backes gets his second in less than three minutes, taking a pass on the rush from Sobotka again and firing from the left faceoff dot past Hiller stick side. It's 3-2 Ducks.
3:44 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - DAVID BACKES - Beleskey tries to send the puck in deep and it appears to hit the lineman's skate and bounces to Sobotka, who quickly sends it ahead to Backes in the breakaway. Backes skates in and beats Hiller with a wrist shot to break the Hiller scoreless streak at 178:34. It's 3-1 Ducks.
3:30 - Nice play by Sutton to take the puck away from behind on D'Agostini, who was alone on the doorstep.
0:56 - Just as the Ryan penalty expires, Hiller snatches a Johnson slap shot out of the air.
0:00 - Off and running in the second, Ducks on the PK.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Phenomenal first for the Ducks, who get two from Ryan, one from Blake and it's 3-0. Hiller's scoreless streak goes to 174:50.
18:52 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. high sticking. That stick has done enough already tonight.
18:17 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - The goal goes to Ryan, but most of the credit has to go to Perry, who battles behind the net with Brewer, falls on his back and somehow taps a loose puck in front, where Ryan bangs it home. Ryan immediately goes to a seated Perry to give him love. Second of the game for Ryan, fourth in the last three games, 20th of the season and it's 3-0 Ducks.
15:40 - Beleskey falls, but still tries to fire at the net, catching Colaiacovo in what looks like the nose. He heads off the ice immediately.
Contest during the timeout to guess which player is in the childhood photo, which is a kid wearing a Flyers jersey. Choices are Fowler, Ryan and Hiller and the answer, of course, is Ryan.
9:49 - Hiller makes it look easy, sliding out to save a Colaiscovo slap shot.
9:24 - ANA Penalty - Andreas Lilja, 2 min. holding. After a collision in the corner, Lilja doesn't let McRae get back up.
7:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - JASON BLAKE - Blake cuts in and takes a backhand that's saved by Conklin, but Blake picks up the rebound behind the net. He tries to feed in front to Koivu, who whiffs on the one-timer but the puck hits off Alex Pietrangelo's skate and goes in. It's 2-0 Ducks on Blake's ninth of the year.
5:05 - Parros gets a shot blocked by his own guy, Marchant. You can see Georgie's shorter hair from up here.
3:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BOBBY RYAN - Ryan takes a pass from Lupul in the bottom of the left wing circle and whips a slap shot off the open far post and in. Ridiculous shot from Ryan for his fourth goal in the last three games. It's 1-0 early.
2:51 - Koivu has an open change from the slot through a Perry screen, but can't squeeze it through.
1:51 - STL Penalty - Philip McRae, 2 min. tripping. McRae trips Sbisa behind the Anaheim net. We may have gotten away with one there.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Christina Reyes, who hasn't been here in awhile, does another outstanding job on the anthem. Christina, who seems to have a different look every game, goes with no glasses and magenta dyed hair tonight.
Blues go with Conklin tonight instead of Halak, as they play back-to-back against Kings tomorrow. Starters in bold/italics.