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Palmieri's return sparks Ducks past Blues

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- Someday, Anaheim Ducks forward Matt Beleskey can tell his grandchildren he scored a game-winning goal against Martin Brodeur.

Beleskey broke in on Brodeur and beat him high with 9:05 left in the third period to give the Ducks a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center on Friday.

"It was just one of those chances," Beleskey said. "You get in there. He stopped me a few times early in the game, and luckily I got that one through him."

Beleskey's team-leading 16th goal came after St. Louis turned it over in the neutral zone, and Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen passed the puck to Beleskey. The reunited line of Beleskey, Ryan Kesler and Kyle Palmieri combined for two goals, two assists, nine shots and three takeaways for the Ducks (25-9-6), who rebounded from a penalty-filled 3-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday and have an NHL-best 56 points.

"We find a way to win," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Sometimes it doesn't look like we deserve it, but we find a way to win."

Boudreau points to the increased confidence in Beleskey for his jump in production. Beleskey, who is on pace for 32 goals, almost laughed when asked what he would say if told he would be leading Anaheim in goal scoring at the start of January.

"I'd be pretty happy about it," Beleskey said. "It’s been a great start. I think I just went five games without a goal. It seems like a long time. It's a good feeling, but I've got to keep it going for the second half and keep it going into the playoffs."

The Blues (22-13-3) have lost five straight on the road (0-4-1) and nine consecutive games in Anaheim, dating to Nov. 5, 2009. St. Louis pulled Brodeur for an extra attacker, but was penalized for too many men with 1:15 left. Kesler blocked Alex Steen's shot to end the game.

"I thought we had a great effort and we scored three goals, but I think on the defensive side of the puck we made a few mistakes that they capitalized on," Brodeur said. "They're a good hockey team. You just can't give up anything for free, and we did today."

Brodeur made 29 saves, including a two-pad stack in the first.

"A little bit like the old Marty there," Brodeur said.

Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen made 39 saves for his 21st win, tied for second in the League.

The teams combined for five goals in span of 13:28 in the second period. The Ducks had leads of 2-1 and 3-2 on goals by Palmieri and Andrew Cogliano before Steen one-timed Vladimir Tarasenko's pass for a 5-on-3 goal at 16:27 which tied the game 3-3.

Palmieri, in his return from a six-game absence because of a shoulder injury, redirected a shot Kesler made from his knees at 5:20, and Cogliano scored on a wrist shot at 10:11 off forward Nate Thompson's pass from behind the net.

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf ended an 0-for-21, seven-game power-play slump in the first period. He lunged to backhand the puck at 6:29 when Vatanen's shot bounced off forward Patrick Maroon into the slot. It was Getzlaf's 13th goal, second on the power play.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said he was upset with penalties by forwards Jori Lehtera and Paul Stastny early in the third period that took away momentum, even though the Blues killed each of them. Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk took some positives.

"I still think that we were better as a team this game," Shattenkirk said. "They're a team that likes to throw pucks into the goal crease, especially with their size, and get to the net. … We traded some chances but for the most part we played clean through the neutral zone. We did a good job putting pucks in their zone and establishing our game. We just have to find that goal in the third that puts us ahead."

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