Thursday night was Kevin Shattenkirk bobble head night, but a few more games like the last few will earn Colton Parayko his own bobble head real soon.
While Shattenkirk was still not in the lineup, the Blues defensive corp put in another strong effort and contributed 19 of the 34 total shots put on Frederik Andersen. The Ducks are struggling mightily but a few bounces here and there would put them at a much better spot then the 1-7-2 record they sport currently. Missing Ryan Getzlaf really shows as Corey Perry was reduced to a one man offense and as the game progressed you could see his frustration grow.
Games against Anaheim are always a hard hitting yet skill full affair and tonight's game was no different. Parayko would get his night started but firing the first two shots of the game but Andersen looked sharp and turned them aside. The Blues first three shots and four of the first six would come from defensemen in a scene of what this game would be about. Anaheim would gain the first man advantage as Ty Rattie would take a high sticking penalty but would only get one shot off before Ryan Kesler would go off for a holding the stick penalty.
Jake Allen, coming off a shutout on Tuesday night, continued his sharp play turning aside 12 Ducks shots in the first period and made none of them look difficult to stop. Allen had to be on his game as the Blues turned the puck over multiple times in the first but luckily none cost them.
The best shift of the first period saw the youngsters Rattie and Robby Fabbri along with Scott Gomez gain and hold the zone. While no shot was put on net, the line had the Ducks running around their own zone and a few pucks whizzed by Andersen. The period would end with no score with the Ducks holding a slight edge in momentum as well as the shot advantage 12-10.
The Ducks would take a 1-0 lead early in the second after Alex Pietrangelo was hit with a holding penalty :49 seconds into the second period. The Ducks second power play of the game wasn't getting much done against the Blues penalty kill until Perry gathered the puck along the wall, maneuvered into the slot and fired a pass to Hampus Lindholm who smacked at the puck multiple times until it popped over Allen's pad and into the net.
Roughly four minutes later the Blues almost went down 2-0 as a scrum by the benches resulted in a four on two break for Anaheim. Fortunately for the Blues, the Ducks fumbled with the puck and an attempted shot was blocked and settled on Steve Ott's stick who looked up and saw not one but two Blues forwards at the opposing blue line all alone. It just so happened to be Jori Lehtera, Vladimir Tarasenko and no defensemen for the Ducks. This is what happens when you mess up an odd man rush against the Blues:
After that goal the game got a little chippy as not one but two fights would break out with who else but Steve Ott in the middle. Not only did he agitate Pat Maroon and Corey Perry but with each fight he also drew an extra minor from each player. Maroon's fight was precipitated by a Korbinian Holzer roughing penalty and Perry got an extra boarding penalty before fighting. I hesitate to say this but Steve Ott has been playing some great hockey the last few games, and while I know its because he is in his right position on the fourth line, he doesn't shy away from his duty and gets points on top of that.
Late in the period, Tarasenko would get a high elbow from Shawn Horcoff and would stay down on the ice for an extended period, making everyone hold their breath. Vladi was helped off the ice and to the locker room with no real word on what was wrong.
The period would end tied at one, the Blues had gone 0-3 on the power play and were potentially down Tarasenko.
But hark, who should appear at the start of the third period? Tarasenko had fans anxious but as the second to last player out of the locker room you could feel the collective breath rushing out of the fans and knew everything would be right again. The third period was a back and forth affair as each team collected a few shots and a lot more hits as the game got a little bit more rough around the edges.
Andrew Cogliano would go off for hooking but the Blues inept power play couldn't do anything with the advantage, falling to 0 for their last 16. As good as the Blues have looked this year, missing Shattenkirk on the power play really shows how much this team depends on him. Trying to carry the puck in over and over again isn't working and yet no changes are coming from that realization.
Luckily the Blues four leaf clover, Ivan Drago lookalike and all around bad ass defensemen Colton Parayko said don't worry I got you guys. Off a face off win in the Ducks zone Parayko took a pass from Rattie and like almost every goal he has scored this year just threw it toward the net. It missed.......but hit off the end boards and off the most unfortunate goalie this year in Andersen.
You can just see the confidence drain from Andersen after this goal but you can't blame him as he has only gotten .59 goals per game for him this year. Yes you can't let a goal like this in but when your team doesn't score for you these goals get even more magnified. Thankfully for Anaheim they have a guy in net who can forget these things pretty quickly. Just two minutes after the Parayko goal the Blues found themselves with another golden opportunity as David Backes found himself wide open and a wide open net, but Andersen thrust himself to the right and robbed Backes off his first goal of the year.
As like Tuesday's game the Blues didn't go in to a defensive shell after gaining the lead and it showed us a little bit more of what this reckless play Hitchcock talked about in the off-season. The Blues didn't play stupid but they did play with intensity and that led to better puck possession and for the second time in the last two games the Blues held a hefty shot advantage in the third. On Tuesday they out shot Tampa 15-2 while tonight they held the Ducks to 4 shots in the third while peppering Andersen with 15 more shots.
The only real blemish on the third period was a late penalty to Lehtera but the Ducks never really got anything going and surprisingly Coach Boudreau left Andersen in net the whole advantage even though less then two minutes remained in the game. With his job potentially on the line it was almost like he was coaching not to lose by more then one goal as opposed to gaining the tie.
While the Blues might never catch the Ducks at a worse point then tonight, it was still nice to see them dominate a team that had been so good for the last few years. Yes there are things to work on; power play I am looking at you, but if we keep winning while missing key parts I am not one to complain. The Blues will be back at it Saturday night, Halloween, as they look for three wins in a row against rising nemesis Minnesota.
#3 - Vladimir Tarasenko - Goal on 2 on 0 breakaway
#2 - Colton Parayko - GWG, team high 10 shots, most shots by a rookie since Alexander Ovechkin
#1 - Steve Ott - Assist, drew two penalties while engaging in two fights