Sunday evening at Honda Center was Corey Perry night. The Anaheim Ducks, while hosting the St. Louis Blues, decided to honor their first ever NHL MVP by putting the Hart and Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies that Perry won in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards this past summer on display for the fans to take pictures with. All fans in attendance were given commemorative pucks and posters to help celebrate the occasion.
Prior to the start of the game, Perry, along with his trophies, were brought out to center ice and were received standing ovation and huge roar from the sell-out crowd.
“That was special,” Perry reminisced. “It was a tremendous honor just to be acknowledged and I’ve got to thank the organization for doing that.”
Once Perry had his moment in the spotlight, it was time to start the game.
However, in honoring Perry, it brought to light some recent offensive issues the Ducks had been facing. In the three regular season games the Ducks had played prior, they had only been able to put together three goals between regulation and overtime (their 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers went into a shoot out). Two of the three goals were first career NHL goals from rookies Nate Guenin and Maxime Macenauer, the third from Andrew Cogliano, who the Ducks acquired this past offseason.
This left the teams top two offensive lines goalless and big name players, like Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, all searching for their first goal of the season.
However, they wouldn’t have to wait much longer.
The Ducks took control of the puck early and got off a few good shots in the first few minutes of the first period. Just over two minutes in, Ryan scored, getting his first goal of the season and an early lead for the Ducks. The Ducks maintained the pressure throughout the period, but were unable to capitalize any further.
The Blues were able to rebound in the second period and in the sixth minute of the period, Patrik Berglund deflected the puck off the back post and in the net behind Jonas Hiller. The teams were tied at one going into the third.
However, everything changed for the Ducks in the third period. The Ducks netted two power play goals a mere 2:10 apart, from Francois Beauchemin and the man of the hour himself, Perry. Perry’s goal came with assists from his power play linemates Getzlaf and Selanne.
“It was huge,” Perry said of his line finally scoring. “We’ve had our chances, we haven’t been down on ourselves, we’ve been having fun at the rink and that’s what matters. When you go out there, you’re having fun and playing hockey, things are going to happen.”
A few minutes after the Perry goal, Ryan put the puck through the five hole of Jaroslav Halak, getting his second goal of the night and giving the Ducks a 4-1 lead with about thirteen minutes left in regulation.
Ryan commented, “I think it was just a matter of time ‘til we found the net and hopefully this is something we can roll with.”
Alexander Steen was able to add another goal for the Blues, but the Ducks went on to win 4-2 and one thing was clear, the Ducks had found their offense… at least for the night.
“I would say it’s about time,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said of his top guys scoring. “They’ve had their fair share of chances and tonight they were rewarded for some of the hard work that they’ve put in and hopefully it continues a trend for us.”
The Ducks head out on the road for a quick trip up to San Jose to face the Sharks on Monday night before returning to Honda Center for game against Dallas on Friday.