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Video: Ducks Fall 4-1 To Blues
By Aaron Francis
The Anaheim Ducks flew into St. Louis to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues. The Ducks dropped their last game against the Blackhawks and had lost their past 3 games. Jake Allen was in goal for St. Louis and John Gibson started in goal for Anaheim.
The Ducks managed to stave off the Blues attack through the first period, walking away from the frame tied 1-1. Early the Ducks almost had the lead as Robert Bortuzzo almost played the puck into his own net. However, a shot from the point by Bortuzzo created a big rebound off Gibson that Alexander Steen was able to pot in to take the lead, 1-0 St. Louis. Later in the first Maxime Comtois was able to beat Allen as he couldn’t track the shot through traffic from the blue line, 1-1 tie. Shots were even 5-5 at the end of the first.
The Blues absolutely dominated the play in the second period taking the lead and deflating the Anaheim bench. An early mistake would cost the Ducks after Maxime Comtois attempted to clear the puck up through the slot. The Blues picked the puck up off the ensuing turnover and Tyler Bozak scored to make it 2-1 St. Louis. A battle in front of Gibson led to coincidental minors for Josh Manson and David Perron. During the 4-on-4, Max Jones took a hooking penalty that St. Louis capitalized on. From the offensive zone face-off, the Blues quickly scored as Jaden Schwartz extended the lead, 3-1 St. Louis.
The Ducks were falling behind quick and needed to respond. They would, however, end up mostly defending through the final minutes of the period, playing a long sequence in their own end after Daniel Sprong broke his stick leading St. Louis to control the play. The Blues managed to fire 22 shots on goal in the second for a total of 27, while Anaheim only managed 10 for a total of 15.
In the end, the Ducks had put themselves behind by too much to overcome as they were not able to come back in the game. They had two back-to-back power play opportunities that didn’t lead to any change in the score. Then the final nail in the coffin came as John Gibson collided with another Ducks skater behind the net while trying to play the puck. The puck was knocked loose and with Gibson out of position, it was an easy empty-net goal for Ivan Barbashev, 4-1 St. Louis. The final shot totals saw the host Blues lead 34-21.
Anaheim hasn’t been playing their best hockey the past 10 games and tonight followed the downward trend for the team. They sit last in the division and it shows on the ice. Tonight the difference between a tight competitive game and the result on the ice was turnovers. Two of the Blues goals came as a result of turnovers inside the defensive zone. Careless play and defensive mistakes sunk the Ducks in this game even though they played a decent first period against the defending cup champions. These simple mistakes need to be cleaned up and can not continue to happen if the Ducks ever want to move out of the Pacific basement.
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January 13th, 2019