By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(24-13-8) return home to face the St. Louis Blues(22-16-5). This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
The Ducks return home from their mini two-game road trip with two wins. Anaheim has been on a roll defensively posting three shutouts in their last six games. John Gibson earned two of them on the previous homestand and last night was Jonathan Bernier‘s turn. The Ducks will face the St. Louis Blues who also played last night. Gibson is expected to get the start tonight. Ryan Kesler leads the team with 18 goals. Rickard Rakell is right behind him with 17 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 12 goals. Andrew Cogliano and Nick Ritchie both have 10 goals. Anaheim is in first place in the Pacific Division with 56 points.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks need to keep playing solid defense as they have been over the course of the last six games. Anaheim hasn’t allowed an opponent more than two goals in a game during that time span. The area the Ducks could improve on is their power play. They have just scored once with the extra man in their last six games going 1-for-17. The power play is still in the top ten in the league(currently 9th), but it would be good if they could break the recent slump.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 17-10-7, GAA 2.34, SV% .920 (Probable)
St. Louis’ Outlook
The Blues currently sit in third place in the Central Division behind the Chicago Blackhawks and red-hot Minnesota Wild. St. Louis played last night and beat the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Carter Hutton earned the shutout and he will go again in net tonight. In his last five starts, he is 3-0-2. Vladimir Tarasenko leads the way with 20 goals for the Blues. Jaden Schwartz has 12 goals. Robby Fabbri and David Perron both have 11 goals.
Key’s To The Game
The Blues struggled offensively against Los Angeles only scoring once, but then they lit the lamp four times last night against San Jose. If they get a goal early in this game then they will put themselves in a good position to win. Their power play is ranked 7th in the NHL at 22.3% so they will look to work the forecheck and draw some penalties tonight. They are also ranked 9th in face-off winning percentage at 51.1%. Anaheim is still first at 55.0% so there should be some good battles during the face-offs.
St. Louis’ Projected Lineup
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January 15, 2016