ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jonas Hiller made 18 saves in his fifth shutout of the season, Andrew Cogliano scored in the opening minutes, and the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks returned from their Olympic break with a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Hiller came back strong from the break after posting two shutouts for Switzerland in Sochi, earning his 21st career shutout. Cogliano's early goal stood up in a hard-hitting, choppy game between two of the NHL's best teams.
St. Louis still hasn't scored after the break, taking its first two shutout losses of the season.
The Ducks were the NHL's final team to resume play, giving extra rest to gold medallists Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and bronze medallist Teemu Selanne. Anaheim likely needed the break after losing three of its last four before the Olympics, getting shut out twice during just its second significant skid of the entire season.
Coach Bruce Boudreau earned his 300th career victory as Anaheim swept the season series with the Blues. With 89 points from 61 games, the Ducks are five points ahead of St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh in the overall NHL standings.
The Blues made a major move for their post-season stretch about three hours before the puck dropped in Anaheim, acquiring Miller and agitator Steve Ott from Buffalo in a deal for Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, two draft picks and Halak, the Slovak Olympian who has been with St. Louis since 2010.
Miller and Ott won't join St. Louis until this weekend in Phoenix, so the Blues' backup goalie was Jeff Tyni, the Ducks' locker room attendant.
Both teams attempted to make up for their post-break rust with aggressive physical play. St. Louis captain David Backes and Perry fought in the first period, extending their personal feud. Adding to the Canada-U.S. rivalry vibe, Getzlaf and T.J. Oshie also nearly dropped gloves during the same prolonged scuffle.
Cogliano put the Ducks ahead early on with a breakaway goal set up by Saku Koivu's pass off a mid-ice turnover. The speedy Cogliano's goal was his 18th, matching his career high with 21 games left in the regular season.
The Blues were outstanding in the second half of the second period, but their surge was highlighted by Ryan Reaves' shot off both of Hiller's goalposts.
Ducks centre Mathieu Perreault left the game early in the third period with an upper-body injury after taking a big hit on the boards.
NOTES: St. Louis' five starting skaters were all Olympians: Backes, Oshie, Alexander Steen and gold medal-winning defencemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. ... Stewart was traded on a Blues-Ducks gameday for the second time in three years. St. Louis acquired Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk from Colorado on Feb. 19, 2011, and Stewart made his Blues debut against Anaheim later in the day. ... The Ducks scratched F Jakob Silfverberg, who won a silver medal for Sweden last weekend. D Sami Vatanen, who won bronze with Finland and led the Olympic tournament with five assists, is back with Anaheim's AHL affiliate in Norfolk.
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