As much two games can be mirror images of one another, the Ducks and the St. Louis Blues certainly flipped roles in their second meeting of the season Wednesday.
Anaheim exacted revenge for a 5-1 loss in St. Louis on Oct. 11 – what seems like a long three months ago after they completed a 5-1 homestand with Wednesday’s win. Bobby Ryan notched his third career hat trick, his second of the season, and Jason Blake, Lubomir Visnovsky, Corey Perry and Brandon McMillan also added goals for the Ducks.
“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.”
No one can speak to streaks better than Ryan, who has six goals in his last three games after scoring just one in the previous 10. All three of his goals came within spitting distance of the crease – and off fine primary assists from Joffrey Lupul, Perry and Andreas Lilja – which marked a significant evolution in Ryan’s transition from wing to center.
“It didn’t come as smoothly as we all liked, but we persevered and he has persevered,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Hopefully that is just a springboard for him to continue on with the offensive threat that he is.”
In that Oct. 11 game, their third of the season, the Ducks were outshot 53-14 and Ryan collected 17 penalty minutes (and no goals). Call Wednesday’s outing a measuring-stick game – a measurement against the Ducks’ former selves.
Jonas Hiller got burned by lapses on defense and allowed four goals on 34 shots, seeing his shutout streak end at 178:34. The Ducks took advantage of an off-night for Ty Conklin, who stopped just 17 of 24.
A few more notes:
The special teams are soaring sans Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks have gone 19-for-20 (95 percent) on the penalty kill since the third period of their Dec. 28 game at Phoenix. They didn’t 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 gone 6-for-10 on the power play (60%).
Ryan’s four points were a career high. With 21 goals this season, he’s exceeded 20 goals in three straight seasons.
Hiller’s scoreless streak was the 11th-longest since the lockout (start of 2005-06 season).
Lubomir Visnovsky matched a career high with three points tonight and the defenseman has a three-game point streak. He’s on pace for a 65-point season, which would be his highest point total since his career year in 2005-06 with the Kings.
With two more assists, Teemu Selanne sits one point shy of 1,300 points in his career (618-681=1,299 in 1,223 career games). Selanne’s 1.05 points-per-game ranks 12th in the NHL.
Cam Fowler has 0-5=5 points in his last three games and leads all NHL rookies in assists and ranks tied for fifth in points. He also leads all rookie defensemen in points.