Blues stay in thick of playoff race with 3-1 win over Ducks
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Robert Bortuzzo got his first goal of the season and Brayden Schenn also scored, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
It was Bortuzzo's third career game-winner.
“He's not a gifted scorer or anything,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “Or a gifted puck guy. But he has a very smart brain. He uses his head well out there. He's got a good hockey IQ.”
The Blues and Bortuzzo did not go overboard celebrating his rare goal.
“Yeah, you don’t want to over-celebrate and make him feel stupid, or act surprised that he scored," Schenn said. "He’s still a good player and still very capable of doing it. I think guys were just excited to see him score. First one of the year, big goal, game-winner.”
Jordan Binnington had 19 saves to earn his 70th career win, becoming the 10th goaltender in Blues history to reach the mark. The Blues have won seven of their last nine against the Ducks and are 5-1-1 this season against Anaheim.
“This time of year, the points we need, it’s all business and one game at a time and give it everything we have and refocus and prepare for the next one,” Binnington said.
Ryan O'Reilly added an empty-netter to seal the win.
Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim and John Gibson had 29 saves.
“We all have no margins for error,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think John Gibson lays it on the line every night to try to keep it where they score none. Everyone knows we're limited in the goal scoring column. Every night he comes in and does everything he can to keep the other team to zero.”
The teams meet again Wednesday in St. Louis.
Bortuzzo gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead at 2:13 of the third period. From behind the net, Jordan Kyrou saw Bortuzzo in the slot and his wrist shot found the back of the net. It was Bortuzzo’s 17th goal in his 10-year NHL career. His last goal came March 8, 2020, at Chicago.
“I’m confident in my abilities. No one made a prediction tonight. Maybe that was the secret sauce. No one had to say anything. Happy to contribute," Bortuzzo said. “It’s a big game for us coming off a road trip, those games are tough sometimes. A lot of guys stepped up tonight and it’s a big win for us.”
The Blues have won six of their last eight games at home. The win puts St. Louis five points ahead of Arizona for the final playoff spot in the West Division. The Blues have three games in hand on Arizona, which hosted Los Angeles Monday.
After a scoreless first period, each team scored within 25 seconds of each in the second period.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead at 5:52 when Schenn snapped a wrist shot by Gibson for a power-play goal. Schenn has seven points in seven games against the Ducks this season.
The Ducks tied it with an unassisted goal by Getzlaf at 6:17. Colton Parayko was unable to handle a pass from Sammy Blais. Getzlaf picked off the pass and buried the puck on a breakaway.
"I like that we’re still battling. I mean, that’s a good hockey team right there," Getzlaf said. “We were right in that game there.”
RW David Perron played in his 900th career game and 600th with St. Louis. He has 600 career points and 400 with the Blues. Perron, who assisted on O'Reilly's late goal, is the 14th player in Blues history to dress in 600 games with the club and the 57th active player to reach 900 career games. Perron was originally drafted 26th overall by the Blues in 2007.
David Backes, who is in the final year of a five-year contract he signed when he left St. Louis, did not take part in the morning skate. Backes has played in one of the last 11 games and only 14 all season. Eakins held out hope Backes has a chance to play Wednesday.
“I know what he has meant to the St. Louis organization in the past, obviously being a captain and I think really setting a standard for leadership, character and work ethic,” Eakins said. “Even though he has been limited in the number of games he has played for us, he has not relented with his leadership, with his character or with his work ethic.”
Blues: RW Vladimir Tarasenko (lower-body injury) returns to the ice after missing two games. With Tarasenko back, Kyle Clifford was scratched. ... D Vince Dunn (upper-body injury) will miss his fourth consecutive game. He did take part in the morning skate. ... D Torey Krug (upper body injury) will miss his second consecutive game. He is second on the team with 28 assists.
Ducks: C Adam Henrique, who has been out the past week while in COVID-19 protocol (though he did not test positive), is on the road trip but did not play. He has missed five games. ... D Josh Manson (upper-body injury) hasn’t played since suffering his injury during a fight April 20 — missing six games — at Los Angeles. He is on the trip but is “day to day and we’ll see how that one goes,” Eakins said.
The Ducks recalled D Josh Mahura, 22, from San Diego of the AHL on Monday. Mahura, who hasn’t seen any NHL action since March, has a goal and three points in 11 games with Anaheim this season.