The Anaheim Ducks will seek a faster start on Sunday night when they continue their four-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues.
The Ducks struggled through the first two periods during their 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday. They nearly tied the game with 8:49 remaining on Jakob Silfverberg’s apparent wraparound goal, but the tally was nullified following a video review.
“We weren’t very good, let’s be honest. The first couple periods, we were lucky it was only 2-0,” Ducks coach Greg Cronin said after the loss. “We waited until the third period. … We played with some urgency. It was too little, too late.
“If our penalty killing hadn’t been so good, it wouldn’t have gotten to the controversial ending.”
The Ducks lost 8-2 Wednesday in their previous game, at Colorado, so Cronin was pleased to see the response — albeit late — against the Panthers.
“This team’s funny, like we go in spurts,” Cronin said. “There’s a fearlessness and a drive to our game when we have that in our minds, and you saw that in the third period.”
Anaheim’s best scoring chances in the first two periods came on shorthanded breakaways by Adam Henrique. Then the Ducks generated considerable 5-on-5 pressure in the final 20 minutes.
“It felt like the ice was shifting our way in the third,” Silfverberg said. “We kept having scoring chance after scoring chance.”
Overall the Ducks have lost four of their last six games after reeling off six victories in a row. Frank Vatrano, who scored his team-high 12th goal against Florida, has three goals and two assists in his last four games.
The Blues, who will face the Ducks for the first time this season, will play their third contest in a four-game trip.
St. Louis saw its three-game winning streak end with a 5-1 setback at San Jose on Thursday night. The Blues also dropped a 5-1 decision at Los Angeles on Saturday.
The Blues entered that game just 3-for-43 on their power play this season. They went 0-for-3 against the Kings and allowed a shorthanded goal despite making several recent adjustments with the man advantage.
“It’s a downhill power play, so either you’re going downhill with some speed and you’re shooting pucks, or you’re making plays into the net area with numbers at the net,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “We should all be going downhill together.”
The Blues started Jordan Binnington in goal against the Kings, so they likely will come back with Joel Hofer (3-2-0, 3.20 goals-against average, .902 save percentage) against the Ducks.
St. Louis made a lineup change against Los Angeles, replacing Marco Scandella on the third defensive pairing with Robert Bortuzzo.
“Back-to-back, and I want to keep guys going,” Berube said. “‘Borts’ hasn’t been in for a bit. They’ve got a good power play; he’s a good penalty killer.”
–Field Level Media