Wednesday, October 20

Blues hope to strengthen defense against wobbly ducks

The St. Louis Blues will take a relentless offense to a rematch with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

Defending the Blues is still a different story.

The Blues will enter the second game of a back-to-back in Anaheim after scoring 12 goals in their last two games. The most recent onslaught of goals came Monday when St. Louis scored five times and still received a scare in a 5-4 victory.

The game was a slightly softer version of the Blues’ 7-6 victory in San Jose on Saturday. That win ended a three-game losing streak.

As the Blues work their way through various injuries, scoring a lot of goals is good. They were 4-1 at one point Monday before the Ducks came close to a goal twice.

But giving up 10 goals in two games is a concern. St. Louis entered the game Tuesday, yielding an average of 3.14 goals per game and surrendering three in just the third period against the Ducks.

“It’s going to happen, and we definitely don’t like to do that,” David Perron said of the final decision after his goal in the second period gave St. Louis the lead for good Monday. “But I liked a lot of things: the competition from a lot of the guys, taking care of each other, supporting, releasing records.”

Zach Sanford scored two goals and an assist on Monday, while Jordan Kyrou scored a goal, as did Dakota Joshua in her NHL debut. Joshua essentially ran into the first score of his career, when the rebound from a save bounced off his right thigh as he loaded the net, sending the puck across the line.

“I was driving hard into the net, and I got a good, greasy first one,” said Joshua, who became the 17th player in Blues history to score a goal on his debut. “It was a great moment.”

All the goals and the two recent victories are welcoming the Blues through the recent news that defender Carl Gunnarsson is out of season with a knee injury. Center Jacob De La Rose was lost indefinitely with a lower body injury last week. Forward Ivan Barbashev (ankle) was placed on injured reserve less than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Ducks have lost seven straight games, going 0-5-2 in that stretch. Yet they see reason for hope.

After four career games, 19-year-old rookie forward Trevor Zegras has shown impressive puck handling skills. Since their arrival, the Ducks have been close to victory, taking a three-goal lead in two separate games, spending overtime with the Vegas Golden Knights and scaring off the Blues.

Another young man from Anaheim, 21-year-old Isac Lundestrom, posted his first career treble on Monday, scoring two of the goals in the third period. He entered with two goals in 44 career games.

“(Lundestrom) skating like this and competing like this is quiet leadership,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We hope that others will notice.

“I give our guys credit. They came out in third and fought like hell, so that’s encouraging. But for us to win, it has to be a full 60 minutes. Every moment is critical.”

– Field level media

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