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Ducks rebound with win over Blues

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Coming off only their second loss in the last six weeks, the Anaheim Ducks were determined to have a better effort Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.

They got exactly what they wanted.

Center Ryan Getzlaf scored one goal and assisted on another and rookie goalie Frederik Andersen stopped 34 of 36 St. Louis shots to give the Ducks a 3-2 win, one night after they lost 4-2 in Chicago on Friday night.

"We came out with more of a purpose; that's what we have to do as a team and we know it's important that we get off to a good start," Getzlaf said. "We needed to bounce back after a tough loss last night. The beauty of playing back to backs is sometimes it's a blessing when you go out and play a game like we did in Chicago. We kind of got outplayed and we were able to rebound and play our game tonight."

The effort by his players impressed Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau.

"It's hard to win as many games in a row as you did and then you lose and you're coming back against the best percentage team in the league anyway, and the first two periods it was 3-0 and I thought it could have been four or five," Boudreau said. "Then we had to hold on. I think we feel comfortable in the one goal games.

"It would be pretty easy to sit there and think 'hey we had a good run, we're playing on the road and then going home, let's take this one off.' But they don't. After a loss they came back and played a really hard game."

Getzlaf scored his 25th goal of the season 5:27 into the first period when he took a pass from right winger Corey Perry and fired the puck past goalie Brian Elliott, whose franchise-record streak of 13 consecutive home wins came to an end.

The Ducks increased the lead to 2-0 when a St. Louis turnover in the neutral zone led to a goal by left winger Matt Beleskey at 2:27 of the second period. Elliott appeared to have made the save on the play, but the puck still trickled into the net.

The Blues had killed off 27 of their opponents' last 28 power-play chances before defenseman Cam Fowler, with an assist from Getzlaf, scored at 9:13 of the second period while Blues left winger Alexander Steen was serving a minor penalty for goalie interference to make it a 3-0 game.

The Blues finally got untracked in the third period, firing 17 shots at Andersen and getting a goal from defenseman Barret Jackman and a power-play goal by left wing Jaden Schwartz, but Andersen did not allow the tying goal.

It was what Boudreau expected after watching Anderson play virtually the same game in St. Louis on Dec. 7, a 5-2 Anaheim win.

"He was calm and caught the puck and handled the puck," Boudreau said. "I thought he did a really good job especially at the end, when for a first-year guy it could be pretty hectic. They had everybody in the crease. I was really happy for his composure."

Blues center David Backes described his team's play as "listless" through the first two periods.

"They were down our throats and making us make plays we didn't want to and capitalizing on their chances," Backes said. "While we were kind of disjointed and discombobulated all over the place, in the third period, they started to get tired from the game last night and traveling and started to step on the gas. But a 3-goal deficit against any team in this league is tough. Against good teams it's a real tall order."

The loss dropped the Blues to a combined 1-7 against the three California teams, the Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. They have lost only three other times in regulation this season to the rest of the teams in the NHL.

"We've got too many cracks and holes in our game right now," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. "Maybe against a lesser opponent we could win but not against significant opponents. We don't have enough players playing well. One of the problems we're having is we're having the same players playing well night in and night out, but we need way more people playing that way."

NOTES: The Blues were 8-2-1 while LW Alexander Steen was out of the lineup because of a concussion. He was second in the NHL in goals scored with 24 before he was sidelined, and returned to the lineup Saturday night fifth in the league in that department. ... As has been customary this season when the Ducks play on consecutive nights, RW Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch. He also did not play in the Ducks' game in St. Louis earlier this season. ... The Blues begin a four-game road trip on Monday in Detroit while Anaheim returns home to host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
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