Game 2 of the Blues-Ducks mini-series was a far cry from Game 1.
In that one, the Blues sped off to a 4-0 lead on their way to a 6-2 win on Saturday. On Monday, the Blues scored 11 seconds in and then had to battle from there after Saturday’s lethargic third period carried over into Monday’s first.
The Blues got their offense going in the second period on Monday but it wasn’t until there was 4:13 to go in the game that a slap shot by Justin Faulk on a power play put the Blues back ahead on their way to a 3-1 win at Enterprise Center.
The Blues have now have now won seven games in a row and will be able to turn their club record eight-game losing streak on its end on Wednesday in Buffalo. They are the first team in NHL history to follow an eight-or-more game losing streak with a seven-game win streak.
Faulk’s goal came after Ivan Barbashev was tripped near the Anaheim goal by Dmitry Kulikov. More than a minute into the power play, Jordan Kyrou took a shot that was stopped by goalie John Gibson, with the rebound going wide to Robert Thomas. He threaded a pass through the slot to Faulk, who blasted in his fourth goal of the season.
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Noel Acciari scored his second goal of the night on an empty-netter with 18.5 seconds to play to seal the win.
The Blues played their second game without right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, who is still out sick. The Blues did back get defenseman Colton Parayko after he missed three games with an upper body injury but were without Torey Krug, who had an upper body injury. Krug left the morning skate early but Blues coach Craig Berube said he would play. Krug came out for pregame warmups but quickly headed back to the room and Tyler Tucker stayed in the lineup for the fourth game
While the Blues were killing a power play in the third period with the score tied 1-1, Robert Thomas sprung red-hot Pavel Buchnevich for a breakaway. Buchnevich, coming off a four-point game against Anaheim on Saturday, was in alone on goalie John Gibson, but as he tried to stickhandle, he lost the puck and he dribbled off into the corner, the chance lost.
Quick start, slow finish
Noel Acciari scored 11 seconds into the game for the sixth fastest goal in Blues history. It was the second goal in as many games for Acciari in his second game as a winger on the third line rather than a center on the fourth line because Tarasenko was sick. He now has four goals on the season,
Acciari has surpassed the number of goals he had last season in 20 games with Florida and matched the number he had in 2020-21 in 41 games.
Off the opening faceoff, Brayden Schenn took the puck from Cam Fowler in the Anaheim zone and found Acciari alone in the slot and he skated in, did some stickhandling, and shot between the legs of goalie John Gibson.
That was pretty much it for the Blues in the period though. They had only eight shots on goal in the remaining 19:49 of the period, four of them from defensemen, and while they had a few scoring chances, they’re finishing was lacking. The Blues had 11 total shot attempts in the period, while Anaheim had 23, with 15 of them on goal.
And the Blues were sloppy, turning the puck over and failing on chances to get the puck out of their own zone. They almost made it to the safe harbor of the first intermission, but couldn’t. With 17.5 seconds to go in the first, Fowler took a shot from outside that caromed in off of defenseman Nick Leddy to tie the game.
Kyrou denied twice
Neither team scored in the second period, but Kyrou came close twice.
The first came on a breakaway during a power play, but he was stopped by Gibson. Kyrou slammed on the breaks at the top of the crease and tried to go around Gibson, who went down to the ice, but Gibson was able to extend his glove hand and block the shot just 39 seconds into the period. The Blues were on a power play after Acciari had another excellent first-minute scoring chance that this time was denied by Mason McTavish as he skated behind the net and tried for a wraparound.
The next one came about six minutes later when a broken stick by an Anaheim defenseman sprung Kyrou and Alexey Toropchenko on a two-on-one. Kyrou kept the puck and shot but Gibson made another save.
The Blues were a lot better on possessing the puck in the second period and much better on zone time and outshot Anaheim 12-7, flipping the script from the first period. The Blues had a few other chances in front of the net but again, couldn’t finish.