PREVIEW: Ducks Continue Homestand Against Blues

Photo: Jeff Curry, USA Today

By Michael Walters

The Anaheim Ducks(36-23-10) host the St. Louis Blues(36-27-5). The Ducks are 0-1-1 against the Blues this season.

Anaheim Outlook:

The Ducks are coming off a solid 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals this past Sunday. Corey Perry came back to life scoring twice and now have three goals in his last three games. Ryan Kesler scored earning his 20th goal, he had been stuck on 19 for a while.

John Gibson played in the previous game against St. Louis, but he didn’t practice yesterday and appears to still have a lingering lower-body injury. Jonathan Bernier will be the likely starter today. He was named the NHL’s second star of the week going 3-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA and .948 SV%. Randy Carlyle has plenty of confidence in playing him while Gibson still isn’t 100%.

The Ducks are tied for second place in the Pacific Division with Calgary. Edmonton is right behind both of them by one point. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 29 goals. Ryan Kesler has 20 goals and Jakob Silfverberg has 19.

Keys To The Game

The Ducks played the Blues two games ago and had some defensive breakdowns. Vladimir Tarasenko scored just 12 seconds into the game. The Ducks were able to battle back and were tied late in the game, but a goal with just over 19 seconds preventing the Ducks from earning at least one point. If they can play a better defensive game like they did against Washington, then Anaheim has a good chance of earning two points tonight. Perry and Getzlaf came to life offensively in the last game and they need to continue that for the net several weeks.

Anaheim’s Projected Lineup

Offense
Patrick Eaves – Ryan Getzlaf – Rickard Rakell
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick RitchieAntoine Vermette – Corey Perry
Logan Shaw – Nate Thompson – Ondrej Kase

Defense
Cam Fowler – Kevin Bieksa
Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Sami Vatanen – Brandon Montour

In Net
Jonathan Bernier, 12-7-2, GAA 2.72, SV% .910 (Confirmed)

St. Louis Outlook:

The Blues are currently holding down the final playoff spot. They are four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and also have one game in hand. They are on a five-game winning streak which includes wins over Los Angeles and Anaheim. Vladimir Tarasenko leads the team with 32 goals. Patrik Berglund has 18 goals and Paul Stastny has 18.

Keys To The Game

The Blues have found their scoring touch and have been getting off to good starts to put together their current win streak. They have been playing good team defense as well. They have solid special teams with their penalty ranked 8th in the league at 83.8%. Their power play is 5th in the league at 22.3%. They do give up more shots than they take, but if they continue to block shooting lanes, then they will be fine moving forward towards the playoffs.

St. Louis’ Projected Lineup

Offense
Jaden Schwartz – Paul Stastny – Vladimir Tarasenko
Alex Steen – Patrik Berglund – David Perron
Dmitrij Jaskin – Jori Lehtera – Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves

Defense
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson – Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson – Robert Bortuzzo

In Net
Jake Allen, 26-18-3, GAA 2.54, SV% .910 (Confirmed)

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March 15th, 2017

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