Now that the Anaheim Ducks have won a game under Bruce Boudreau, the veteran coach hopes better days are ahead for his new team.
Looking to win consecutive games for the first time in almost two months, the Ducks try to avoid a fourth straight road loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Bobby Ryan scored the second of his two goals with 48.8 seconds left in regulation Tuesday to give Anaheim a 3-2 home win over Los Angeles. The victory was just the third in 18 games for the Ducks (8-14-5), who improved to 1-1-1 since Boudreau replaced the fired Randy Carlyle last week.
"I think they're a very fragile group right now, and we're not out of the woods yet, but maybe we can build on this," said Boudreau, who was unemployed just two days last week after being fired by Washington.
More production from Ryan also could help turn things around for the Ducks, who have not won two in a row since a four-game run Oct. 8-17. Anaheim has blown 2-0 leads in each game under Boudreau.
"It's tough not to get down on yourselves," said Ryan, a 30-goal scorer each of the previous three seasons who has nine through 27 games. "But Bruce did a good job behind the bench, telling guys, `Let's move forward. We're not going to be beaten. I think he instilled that confidence in us."
The Ducks hope that confidence helps them end their recent struggles in St. Louis, where they have been outscored 20-7 in three straight losses. Anaheim, however, defeated the Blues (15-9-3) 4-2 at home Oct. 16.
Ryan, the subject of recent trade rumors, had two goals with an assist in that contest but has been held without a point in his last two games at St. Louis.
Jonas Hiller, who made 37 saves Tuesday versus Los Angeles, stopped 28 shots while winning his second straight start against the Blues in October.
Alex Steen had a goal for St. Louis in that defeat, and tallied his ninth of the season Tuesday as the Blues avoided a third straight loss with a 3-2 win over Detroit.
Steen's goal was one of two on the power play for St. Louis, which ended a 2-for-39 stretch with the man advantage.
"Enough's enough," said Blues forward David Backes, who scored his 10th goal of the season. "Hopefully, this is a springboard toward teams not being able to take those liberties because they know they can kill our power play."
The Blues have gone 6 of 18 on the power play in their last three home games against the Ducks. Backes has three goals with two assists in those games. Steen had a goal and two assists in St. Louis' 9-3 home win over Anaheim on Feb. 19.
St. Louis' Brian Elliott made 27 saves against the Red Wings to bounce back after his six-game winning streak was snapped Saturday in a 5-2 loss to Chicago. He's given up 12 goals during a personal three-game skid against the Ducks.
Backup Jaroslav Halak made just 19 saves against Anaheim in October.