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Bobby Ryan's hat trick helps cap Ducks victory

Anaheim beats the St. Louis Blues, 7-4, to finish a homestand at 5-1 despite absence of Ryan Getzlaf.

January 12, 2011|By Robyn Norwood

If it looked as if life without Ryan Getzlaf would be difficult for the Ducks, maybe this was worth remembering: He's not the only Ryan they have.

Bobby Ryan, the 23-year-old star winger pressed into duty as a center to replace the Ducks' injured captain on the first line, scored two goals in the first period and added another 30 seconds into the third Wednesday for his third career hat trick in a 7-4 win over St. Louis on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.

The hats that rained down on the ice after Ryan deflected a point shot by Andreas Lilja for his third goal of the game and 21st of the season were a first: His other two hat tricks were on the road, where fans tend to hold on to their headgear.

His last one was Nov. 27 at Phoenix, a game that was followed by a lengthy cold spell that he has broken decisively with six goals in the last three games as he adjusts to replacing Getzlaf.

"I think we've found our footing. A lot of guys have chipped in," said Ryan, who added an assist for a career-high four points. "A guy like Getzy goes down, there's no replacing him."

No replacing him, perhaps. But the Ducks are doing more than surviving. They're thriving, finishing their homestand with a 5-1 record without Getzlaf, probably out until after the Jan. 30 NHL All-Star game because of sinus fractures.

"It's impressive, but we have to be effective," said Corey Perry, who had a goal and assisted on one of Ryan's goals by fighting for the puck and passing it to Ryan in front of the net. "We know [Getzlaf] is not going to be in the lineup for a while. We have to accept that and move forward. Guys are stepping up different nights. Tonight it was Bobby, in a huge way."

Other nights it has been goaltender Jonas Hiller, who had shut out the Ducks' last two opponents, Columbus and San Jose.

The Blues thwarted his bid for a third consecutive shutout when David Backes — the Blues' lone All-Star selection — scored two goals in the second period to cut the Ducks' 3-0 lead to one.

Backes ended Hiller's streak when he beat him on the stick side on a breakaway after the Ducks gave away the puck on a line change 3 minutes 44 seconds into the second period. He added another goal, his 14th of the season, less than three minutes later, at the 6:15 mark.

Hiller's streak of 178:34 without giving up a goal was the longest of his career.

Coach Randy Carlyle found fault with his team's play down the stretch, when the Ducks took a raft of penalties, including a 10-minute misconduct for Joffrey Lupul and four fighting majors. Carlyle's point: Hiller has been too good to let his stats get inflated by two late goals, including one on a power play.

"I thought we should have worked harder for Jonas," he said. "I didn't think we did a good job of putting it away properly."

There was no doubt that the Ducks put away the homestand properly, starting with Ryan.

"I know it's been a difficult transition from wing to center," Carlyle said. "It didn't come as smoothly as we'd all like. But we persevered and he has persevered. Hopefully, this is just a springboard for him to continue on as the offensive threat that he is."

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