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Ryan nets pair in Ducks' win over Blues

by Curtis Zupke
ANAHEIM, Calif. Bobby Ryan and his linemates had a talk earlier this week and the subject was obvious.

Ryan, Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf were scoreless in the first three games this season, which prompted questions about when the Anaheim Ducks' dominant top line would get going.

"We realized it wasn't going to (continue)," Ryan said. "We're too good and we've had too much chemistry in the past for it to really stay away from us.

"It's not going to last forever, so we were happy to do it tonight."

Ryan led the way with two goals and Perry added another in a three-goal third period as Anaheim defeated the St. Louis Blues by a 4-2 score on Sunday night at Honda Center.

Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry combined for three goals and three assists as Anaheim broke out offensively after it recorded only three goals in regulation in its first three games.

Ryan took a long stretch pass from Getzlaf and broke in on Jaroslav Halak for a 4-1 lead that capped three goals on six shots by the Ducks.

Perry got a piece of Teemu Selanne's shot in the crease for a power play goal to thrill the home crowd that turned out for "Corey Perry Night" in which Perry's Hart and Richard trophies were on display at center ice in a ceremony before the game.

Perry was appreciative of the gesture, but he was more pleased that his line showed up on the score sheet.

"It's huge," said Perry, the NHL's only 50-goal scorer last season. "We've been talking about the last couple of games. We've had our chances. We haven't been down on ourselves or anything. We've been having fun at the rink, and that's what matters."

Perry's goal snapped a 0-for-15 streak on the power play for Anaheim.

"We knew that we would score eventually," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "But the longer you go, the more pressure mounts and guys start squeezing their sticks."

Francois Beauchemin made up for an egregious error earlier in the game when he scored the go-ahead goal on a slap shot from the left point 91 seconds into the third period.

Anaheim maintained possession after a St. Louis penalty ended, and Ryan gave it Beauchemin, whose shot appeared to have glanced off the skate of Nikita Nikitin.

It was that kind of a night for St. Louis, which watched Getzlaf's pass to Ryan take a fortunate bounce and had two penalty killers without sticks on Perry's goal.

Alexander Steen pulled St. Louis to 4-2 with a quick steep-angle shot through Hiller but it was too late.

St. Louis went 0-for-4 on the power play and essentially gave up two power play goals because Ryan's first goal came just as the penalty expired.

"If you count those as power play goals against, we're minus-2 on special teams and it's no stretch of the imagination that we lose by two goals," Blues forward David Backes said. "We need to be better there and I think if we get that second goal, we've got a little momentum."

The Blues otherwise gave themselves a chance behind strong play from Halak’s 19 saves.

"I thought he was very good," St. Louis coach Davis Payne said. "Good reads, good quickness, especially early. The first five minutes they came at us and we didn’t have the defensive reads down based on some of their skill level."

St. Louis took advantage of a sloppy second period by Anaheim.

Beauchemin had a centering pass intercepted at Anaheim's blue line and St. Louis worked the puck around to Alex Pietrangelo at the right point. Patrik Berglund tipped Pieterangelo's slap shot past Jonas Hiller to tie the game at 1 at 5:43.

St. Louis had an opportunity to take the lead but did not convert on its third power play of the game late in the period. At the other end, Halak deftly held fort with stops in the crease on Devante Smith-Pelly, Getzlaf and Perry.

"He was solid in there," Backes said. "He made big saves when we needed him to."

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead when Ryan one-timed Beauchemin's rebound from the left circle as Nikitin's holding penalty expired at 2:20.

Anaheim came out with energy and outshot St. Louis, 8-0, to start the game before the Blues outshot the Ducks by an 11-2 margin the rest of the period.

Hiller made 28 saves and improved to 3-1 with a 1-71 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

It was Anaheim's first game without Jason Blake, who is out for three months with a deep laceration on his left forearm suffered Friday night. Brandon McMillan took Blake's place on the second line.

St. Louis played its second game without Andy McDonald after he suffered a head injury on Thursday. T.J. Oshie took his place at left wing.

Anaheim's 3-1-0 start is best start through four games since 2006-07, when it won the Stanley Cup. The Ducks got off to a 3-0-1 start that season.
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