Game 2 of the Blues Ducks miniseries was a far cry from Game 1.
In that game, the Blues took a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-2 win on Saturday. On Monday, the Blues scored 11 seconds and then had to fight from there after Saturday’s lethargic third period carried over into Monday’s first.
The Blues got their offensive going in the second half on Monday, but it wasn’t until 4:13 into the game that a slap shot from Justin Faulk on a power play put the Blues back on track to a 3-1 win at the Enterprise Center.
The Blues have now won seven straight games and will end their club-record eight-game losing streak in Buffalo on Wednesday. They are the first team in NHL history to go from an eight-game losing streak to a seven-game winning streak.
Faulk’s goal came after Ivan Barbashev tripped near Dmitry Kulikov’s Anaheim goal. More than a minute into the power play, Jordan Kyrou made a shot that was stopped by goalie John Gibson, with the rebound going to Robert Thomas. He threaded a pass through the slot to Faulk, who scored his fourth goal of the season.
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Noel Acciari scored his second goal of the night from an empty net with 18.5 seconds left to seal the win.
The Blues are playing their second game without right winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who is still out. The Blues brought back defenseman Colton Parayko after missing three games with an upper body injury but 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 a pregame warm up but quickly got back in the room and Tyler Tucker stayed in the lineup for the fourth game
While the Blues killed a power play in the third period in a 1-1 draw, Robert Thomas made a breakaway with the red-hot Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich, who finished a four-point game against Anaheim on Saturday, was alone on goaltender John Gibson, but when he tried to manipulate the stick he lost the puck and dribbled into the corner, the chance wasted.
Fast start, slow end
Noel Acciari scored the sixth fastest goal in Blues history after 11 seconds into the game. It was the second goal in as many games for Acciari, in his second game as a third-row winger rather than a fourth-row center due to Tarasenko’s illness. He now has four goals this season
Acciari has surpassed the number of goals he scored in 20 games with Florida last season and matched the tally in 41 games he had in 2020-21.
After the opening faceoff, Brayden Schenn took Cam Fowler’s puck in the Anaheim zone and found Acciari alone in the slot and he ran in, did some stickhandling and shot between goalie John Gibson’s legs.
That was pretty much it for the blues at the time, though. They had just eight shots on target in 19:49 minutes, four of them from the defenders, and although they had a few chances to score, they failed to finish. The Blues had a total of 11 shot attempts during that period while Anaheim had 23, 15 of which were on target.
And the Blues were sloppy, flipping the puck and missing chances to get the puck out of their own zone. They almost made it to the safe haven of the first break but couldn’t. With 17.5 seconds left in the first round, Fowler made an outside shot that was hit by defender Nick Leddy to level the game.
Kyrou denied twice
Neither team scored in the second period, but Kyrou came close twice.
The first came to a breakaway during a power play but was stopped by Gibson. Kyrou slammed on the brakes at the top of the crease, trying to go around Gibson, who went onto the ice, but Gibson was able to stretch out his glove hand and block the shot just 39 seconds into the third. The Blues found themselves in a power play after Acciari had another excellent scoring chance in the first minute, this time thwarted by Mason McTavish as he ran behind the net and attempted a wraparound.
The next came about six minutes later when a broken stick from an Anaheim defender sent Kyrou and Alexey Toropchenko into a two-for-one. Kyrou held the puck and shot, but Gibson made another save.
The Blues were much better in possession of the puck in the second period and much better in the zone time, knocking out Anaheim 12-7 and reversing the script from the first period. The Blues had a couple of other chances in front of the net but again failed to finish.