Joel Hofer, Blues baffle Ducks

Joel Hofer made 30 saves as the visiting St. Louis Blues defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Sunday night.

Jake Neighbours, Pavel Buchnevich and Alexey Toropchenko scored for the Blues, who were coming off 5-1 losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in the first two games of their four-game road trip.

Mason McTavish scored and John Gibson made 28 saves for the Ducks, who have lost three straight games.

After the Blues nullified a Ducks goal with a successful offside challenge, they went up 1-0 when Neighbours scored 9:25 into the game. Oskar Sundqvist stole the puck on the forecheck and made a backhand pass to set up Neighbours, who sent in a shot from the right circle.

St. Louis came into the game with an NHL-worst power-play conversion rate of 6.5 percent. It failed to capitalize on a four-minute power play, then quickly got another chance with the man advantage late in the first period.

This time, Buchnevich made it 2-0 at 16:34 by scoring with a redirection at the right post off Jordan Kyrou’s backhanded pass.

Less than two minutes into the second period, Alex Killorn got a clean shot on a breakaway that Hofer denied. Moments later, Hofer stopped Sam Carrick’s shot from point-blank range.

Toropchenko increased the Blues’ lead to 3-0 at the 5:39 mark of the second period. Kevin Hayes threw the puck at the net from the left wing and Toropchenko spun in front of it to tally the marker.

McTavish cut the Anaheim deficit to 3-1 with 11:13 left in the period. Killorn pounced on the puck in the Blues’ zone and gave McTavish a chance to beat Hofer one-on-one.

With 3:26 left in the game, Gibson made a sterling glove save on Toropchenko to keep the Ducks within striking distance.

After the Ducks pulled Gibson for an extra attacker, St. Louis’ Brandon Saad shot wide of the empty net. But Anaheim was not able to take advantage of that misfire.

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