Ducks Hold Off Blues, Climb Into Playoff Position
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jason Blake scored two goals, Ray Emery made 30 saves in his first start for Anaheim, and the Ducks climbed into an eighth-place tie in the Western Conference standings with a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Blake scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period of the Ducks’ sixth victory in eight games, pulling them even with Calgary at 81 points. Anaheim also has two games in hand on the Flames, who visit Honda Center on Sunday.
Nathan Oystrick scored and Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots for the Blues, who opened a four-game trip with their ninth loss in 13 games. The loss capped an unsettling day for the Blues after Chairman Dave Checketts announced the franchise is for sale.
After Blake tied it in the second period, the veteran left wing put the Ducks ahead with 18:10 to play on an artful deflection of Lubomir Visnovsky’s shot, earning his first multigoal game since Dec. 31.
Emery took it from there through the final minutes of his first NHL victory since Feb. 1, 2010.
Emery signed with the Ducks last month after recovering from major hip surgery that ended the longtime Ottawa netminder’s comeback with Philadelphia last season after just 29 games. He had the same bone disorder that ended Bo Jackson’s multisport career, but recovered with the help of a bone graft.
Anaheim signed Emery and acquired Dan Ellis from Tampa Bay to fill in for All-Star Jonas Hiller, who has missed 13 straight games and 16 of 17 with a persistent case of vertigo. Hiller is working out on the ice, but still prohibited from playing until his symptoms disperse.
Emery, who made his Ducks debut after Ellis was pulled from a loss to Phoenix last Sunday, made a handful of slick early saves against St. Louis. He also caught several breaks while the Blues controlled play, and St. Louis’ David Backes rang an open shot off the post midway through the third period.
After a scoreless first period, Oystrick capitalized on a series of poor Anaheim shifts with a power-play goal from the slot. Oystrick, who played three games for Anaheim last season, was an emergency callup by the Blues on Tuesday to fill in for injured Nikita Nikitin.
Oystrick hadn’t scored an NHL goal since the 2008-09 season with Atlanta, but his score seemed to snap the Ducks out of a funk.
Blake tied it 1:34 after Oystrick’s goal when his pass to Teemu Selanne got caught underneath Halak and slipped into the net.
NOTES: Oystrick is allowed to play for St. Louis despite being under a six-game AHL suspension for coming off the bench to instigate a fight for Peoria last week. He has 41 points in 56 games with the Rivermen this season. … St. Louis beat the Ducks 9-3 on Feb. 19 in Anaheim’s worst defensive game in coach Randy Carlyle’s six seasons. … D Andy Sutton returned to the Ducks’ lineup after being a healthy scratch in their last nine games. … Brad Winchester faced his former St. Louis teammates for the first time since getting traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. The veteran forward got in a shoving match with two Blues near the benches in the final minutes.
Copyright Associated Press