ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Brayden Schenn and Kasperi Kapanen had two goals and an assist apiece in the St. Louis Blues' 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Jakub Vrana and Sammy Blais also scored during a three-goal first period in St. Louis' fourth win in five games. The sixth-place Blues are all but certain to miss the playoffs for only the second time since 2011, but they routed the Ducks while scoring at least five goals for the third time in their last six games.
“The team played an outstanding game,” said Kapanen, who matched his career high with his fifth three-point game. “I think we've got a great core. It was a good example today, and hopefully it will look like that in the future.”
Jordan Binnington made 22 saves in his first game action after a two-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct - namely, hitting Minnesota's Ryan Hartman in the head with his blocker during a melee with the Wild on March 15. Binnington returned from his suspension two games ago, but sat behind AHL callup Joel Hofer.
Binnington gave up goals on Anaheim's first two shots, but recovered in plenty of time for his 23rd victory.
“Early on, I just wanted to find that rhythm, and I think it took a little bit,” Binnington said. “I was just happy to be playing hockey. ... We're just going to continue to build, and guys are just using this time to develop their game and then carry it with us.”
Schenn secured his seventh career 20-goal season with his first score.
Nikita Nesterenko scored his first NHL goal and John Gibson stopped 30 shots for the Ducks, who have lost four straight. Troy Terry and Ryan Strome also scored as lottery-bound Anaheim dropped to 1-5-1 on its eight-game homestand in the final weeks of its franchise-record fifth consecutive non-playoff season.
Anaheim had another miserable night that underlined its status as the NHL's worst defensive team this year and one of the worst in recent seasons. The Ducks have already set a franchise record for goals allowed, with the number now up to a league-high 297, and their goal differential dropped to an NHL-worst minus-108.
“For whatever reason, we wanted to get into a track meet,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “And we're just not built to outscore our mistakes. ... We could have had much more (offensive) zone time, much more chances if we would have been more responsible.”
Terry scored his 21st goal just 1:46 after the opening faceoff on a power play, but the Ducks gave it right back 15 seconds later when their poor spacing allowed Vrana to walk in alone for his seventh goal.
Nesterenko, the Ducks’ 21-year-old rookie, then scored his first goal in his third NHL game, converting a short-angled shot off a pass from Mason McTavish just 4:05 into the first period.
Nesterenko is a Brooklyn native who played at Boston College. Minnesota drafted him in the sixth round in 2019, and Anaheim acquired him three weeks ago in the trade sending John Klingberg to the Wild.
Blais and Schenn put the Blues ahead with goals 19 seconds apart late in the first, capitalizing on blown coverage by Anaheim's hapless defense for both scores.
St. Louis went ahead 5-2 just 91 seconds into the second period when Schenn and Kapanen scored 29 seconds apart.
Terry, the Ducks' two-time All-Star forward, missed the third period for undisclosed personal reasons.
Blues: At Los Angeles on Sunday.
Ducks: Host Colorado on Monday.
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