Ducks singing the Blues in St. Louis
The Anaheim Ducks (I refuse to call them 'Mighty' until they start playing like it) lost their second straight road game and third of their last four games when they were beaten 3-2 by the St. Louis Blues last night at the Savvis Center.
The Blues, who stink, had only one win on the year coming into the game and were without Keith Tkachunk. The Ducks were without Sergei Fedorov, who is still nursing a groin injury, and Jason Marshall who is still out with a broken nose. Anaheim did get Sandis Ozolinsh back and he immediately paid dividends by scoring his first goal of the year in the first period to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The Ducks started strong in this game with a good effort, lots of speed and dominated the play through the first 20 minutes. They killed all three penalties but also went 0-2 on the power play. Anaheim outshot St. Louis 12-9 in the first period.
The Ducks started the second period with the lead and on a power play, but did nothing. As has been their problem this season they came out flat in the second and the Blues started to get the momentum. That momentum was turned into a goal when the Blues scored a power play goal to even the score 1-1. Then, the Ducks got some very bad news as starting goalie J.S. Giguere was forced to leave the game with a groin injury. Ilya Bryzgalov replaced him and held the line to keep it tied after two periods. St. Louis outshot Anaheim 15-8 in the second period.
The third was more of the same as St. Louis got the most scoring chances early on. The Blues took the lead with another power play goal as the Ducks penalty kill continued to stink worse than an overflowing outhouse. It seemed to be a bit of a wake-up call for the Ducks as they finally started playing hard. They got a few power play opportunities and promptly did nothing with them. Then, with 2:56 left in the game they got another power play. This time Randy Carlyle pulled Bryzgalov to give the Ducks a 6-on-4 advantage and that's what it took to score as Teemu Selanne slammed home a rebound of a Rob Niedermayer wrist shot to tie the game at 2-2 with just 1:18 left. It appeared that the Ducks were going to get at least a point and then take their chances in overtime.
But, the Ducks decided to stop playing and promptly gave up a Blues goal. Eric Brewer scored just 19 seconds after Selanne to give the Blues a 3-2 lead with less than a minute to play, and that's how it would end.
The Ducks gave a much better effort than they did in Minnesota on Sunday, but it still was not enough. The "special" teams are awful for Anaheim. They are the same kind of special as the Special Olympics. The power play flat out sucks and the penalty kill is not much better. The Ducks are fine at even strength, but until they improve both of their special teams units they will continue to struggle. They've lost two in a row and are heading into Detroit tomorrow night where they will most likely get their asses kicked. No Fedorov, no Giguere, no penalty kill and no power play = no chance against Detroit.
The Ducks have already called up Michael Wall to serve as a back-up goalie as Giguere will have to miss some time with his groin injury. This is what is called piss-poor news for the Ducks. I am not a big believer in Bryzgalov as he was not even able to keep his starting job in Cincinnati last year. But, he's the starter for now until Giguere heals.
Six games down, 76 to go. If things don't get better soon, it could be a LONG 76 games.
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