ANAHEIM -- Maybe it was the broken sticks, or simply the breadsticks. Either way, the Ducks found a way to brush off several mini-slumps with one swipe of the hands by Corey Perry on Sunday night at Honda Center.
Perry scored Anaheim’s first power-play goal of the season early in the third period against the visiting St. Louis Blues, the winning goal in a 4-2 victory that pushed the Ducks record to 3-1, their best start since 2006.
The goal was Perry’s first point of the season, matching the longest he has ventured into the fall without hitting the score sheet. Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf also assisted on the play for their first points of the season.
The goal was made easier when St. Louis forwards Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen were forced to kill the penalty empty handed after their sticks broke early in the power play.
The players quickly took advantage, as Getzlaf passed to Selanne down low and he sent a cross-pass through the crease to Perry, who redirected the puck into the net for a 3-1 lead at the 3:40 mark of the final period.
“We knew what was going on,” Perry said of the stick-less defenders. “That’s why we worked it up, we worked it around. They couldn’t get sticks in the lanes to block passes, so we had an advantage.”
Bobby Ryan contributed two goals and an assist and may have helped unlock the top line in another way, suggesting Getzlaf and Perry accompany him to an Italian restaurant earlier Sunday, where they indulged in breadsticks, a bona fide slump buster, according to Ryan.
“Breadsticks are key, that’s right,” Ryan said with a laugh.
Ryan helped the Ducks break another spell against the Blues, scoring multiple goals for the first time this season.
Just as a power play was expiring in the opening minutes of the game, Ryan knocked in a rebound off a blast from defenseman Francois Beauchemin for a 1-0 lead. The Ducks took eight shots on goal in the first 4 ½ minutes of the game, but only eight over the next 35 ½ minutes.
They came back to life at the start of the third period, as Beauchemin scored on another rocket slap shot to break a 1-1 tie. Less than a minute later, the Ducks went on their third power play of the game and 16th of the season and finally got one past the goal line, ending more streaks than one.
“I would say it’s about time,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “They’ve had their fair share of chances and tonight they were rewarded for some of the hard work that they put it. Hopefully it continues a trend for us.”
The Ducks were scheduled to fly to San Jose later Sunday for a game Monday night against the Sharks.