ANAHEIM, Calif. – With time running out to make a run at a playoff spot, the Anaheim Ducks may have drawn added inspiration from coach Randy Carlyle and general manager Bob Murray.
The two met with the players earlier this week to get they ready for a post-season push. The message led to a group effort in the Ducks’ 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Anaheim is 12th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind No. 8 Los Angeles.
“We’re not happy with the position we’re in, and there was only one way that we feel it’s going to change,” Carlyle said. “And that’s that every individual that we have makes a contribution at the highest level from here on in because we have no room for error.”
Matt Beleskey scored the go-ahead goal with 2:40 left to give the Ducks their second straight win.
After Beleskey scored off a rebound of Corey’s Perry shot, Todd Marchant followed it up with an empty-net goal at 19:17.
Barret Jackman scored his first two goals of the season for the Blues, who have lost seven straight.
“We’ve lost a countless number of games like that this year in the third period,” Blues centre T.J. Oshie said. “If you want to be a winning team, if you want to win games in this league, it needs to be done in the third period.
“We just kind of sat back.”
Ducks forward Bobby Ryan used defenceman Eric Brewer as a screen and scored the tying goal, with an assist from Saku Koivu, at 8:18 of the third period. It was Ryan’s 20th goal and 35th point of the season.
“For me to get that one was a huge mental boost,” Ryan said. “It gives you a second wind.”
Jackman’s second of the night gave the Blues a 2-1 lead 56 seconds into the third. He scored with a shot that ricocheted in off Ducks defenceman Ryan Whitney.
St. Louis’ Chris Mason made 25 saves. Jonas Hiller stopped 20 shots for Anaheim.
The Ducks got even 1-1 after failing to capitalize on a two-man advantage. But seconds after the power play, defenceman James Wisniewski fired in a shot at 6:44 in the second period.
Missed opportunities filled the night for the Ducks. They had 29 shots and failed on five power-play chances. Anaheim has scored only once in its last 28 advantages.
“We’re really running out of time and the gap is just getting larger,” Ryan said. “Teams are playing too well in the Western Conference, so we need to put these games together here and on the road.
“This is a group that has all the tools, has everything we need for a run and we need to put things together to get at it.”
The Blues, one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams, took a 1-0 lead against defensively challenged Anaheim. St. Louis entered ranked 26th in the league with 2.50 goals per game. Anaheim had allowed an average of 3.12 goals.
Jackman scored a short-handed goal off an assist from Jay McClement at 5:35 of the first. Jackman scored with a slap shot off a faceoff.
NOTES: Ducks winger Teemu Selanne is expected to rejoin the team on Saturday at Nashville. He has been sidelined since Dec. 3 when he broke a bone in his left hand. … Blues forward Paul Kariya, formerly of the Ducks, missed his fifth game because of a concussion. LW Keith Tkachuck sat out after breaking teeth in a loss to Chicago on Saturday.