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Ducks hand Blues rare home loss

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- What was supposed to be a clash of Western Conference giants was quickly squashed by the Anaheim Ducks.

Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to 13 games with a goal and an assist, and the Ducks handed the St. Louis Blues their second regulation loss at home with a 5-2 victory Saturday at Scottrade Center.

The Ducks (20-7-5) got goals from Andrew Cogliano, Corey Perry and Getzlaf in the opening 7:29. Perry and Getzlaf scored in a 1:53 span to chase Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Nick Bonino and Cogliano had a goal and an assist, and rookie Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots to improve to 8-1-0. The Ducks, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout Friday, are 5-1-2 in their past eight games.

The Ducks were expecting a big initial push from the Blues but pushed back themselves.

"That was our mentality," Getzlaf said. "When we are the team on the back-to-back, we know they are going to make a big push at the start. We consider ourselves an elite team and we need to prove that every night when we are playing great teams."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, "We sure were motivated to play well. I thought we were in good control of the game. … [Getzlaf's] as good a leader as I've ever seen right now."

Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund scored third-period goals for St. Louis, which fell to 12-2-2 at home. The Blues (19-6-3) have dropped three of four games and are 0-for-California this season; four of their six regulation losses have come against the Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks, who've beaten them twice.

In the past four games, the Blues have been outscored 9-1 in the first period, 9-0 in the three losses. Coach Ken Hitchcock sees a common theme.

"I think it's the same for every game," Hitchcock said. "When you don't have a mindset of checking, then that affects your competitive level, races for pucks, puck battles, 50-50 pucks. When your mindset is something other than checking to start with, that affects everything. It's been the same. We went through this last year, and it was, what, a month we went through this where we had to change our attitude towards what was important.

"We'll score lots if we check better. We'll get way more offensive-zone time. We're just chasing the game. We're chasing the game because we're not starting with the puck, we're not keeping the puck, we're not determined when we're being checked, and we're not determined when we're checking, so you play slow. We look slow and then we speed up as the game goes on. We got more competitive as the game went on, but we're allowing the other team to dictate the checking tempo and it affects every part of our game."

The Ducks won for the first time in regulation at St. Louis the past nine games. Their prior regulation win here was 4-3 on Dec. 28, 2008.

Cogliano opened the scoring 1:10 into the game when his centering feed to Saku Koivu caromed off the left skate of Blues defenseman Barret Jackman between Halak's skates.

Perry's power-play goal came after a delay of game penalty to Alex Pietrangelo. Perry deflected Getzlaf's high shot from the slot past Halak at 5:36 for a 2-0 lead.

After a David Backes turnover, Getzlaf chased Halak when his wrister from the right circle beat the goaltender at 7:29. Halak was replaced by Brian Elliott after allowing three goals on eight shots.

"There's nothing I could have done [on the first two goals]," Halak said. "Just maybe the third one, I need to stop that one.

"I need to look at myself, and everybody else needs to probably find the answers. We need to play for 60 minutes, not only for 20."

Boudreau said the Ducks noticed a difference in the Blues goalie before the game.

"We watched warm-up and I thought Halak looked out of sorts," Boudreau said. "When a (first) goal goes in like that it's tough to recover. Two good shots after that and we got the lead, silenced the crowd for a long period of time, and we were able to just hang on at the end."

Getzlaf has 10 goals and 10 assists in his past 13 games. In the Ducks' past 11 games, he has six goals and eight assists. Their captain missed three games with an upper-body injury that broke up his point streak.

The Blues had a pair of four-minute power plays, one in each of the first two periods, but did not score. Vladimir Sobotka was high-sticked by Patrick Maroon, then again by Sami Vatanen. St. Louis had five shots during the first four-minute advantage but had none on the second.

Bonino scored with 2:44 left in the second period to give the Ducks a 4-0 lead, getting a feed at the left side of the net from St. Louis native Maroon. Bonino has 10 points in his past nine games.

Schwartz got the Blues on the board 1:18 into the third period when he jammed in T.J. Oshie's wraparound pass to the left post to cut the Ducks' lead to 4-1. Schwartz has nine points in eight of the past nine games (four goals, five assists). The assist was Oshie's seventh point in seven games (six assists).

Berglund's first goal in 23 games cut the Ducks' lead to 4-2 when he got behind the defense and went in alone on Andersen, beating the Anaheim goalie high stick side at 6:38 of the third.

It extended the Blues' streak of scoring two or more goals on home ice to 22 games dating to last season.

Anaheim's Mark Fistric scored an empty-net goal with 1:48 remaining.

"This four-game stretch has been good for us," Getzlaf said.

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