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PREVIEW: Anaheim Ducks look to keep St. Louis Blues reeling

Mar 26, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Blues left wing Zach Sanford (12) shoots as Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) defends the net during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Zach Sanford (12) shoots as Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) defends the net during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues will try to win their first home game since Feb. 18 when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

The Ducks beat the Blues 4-1 Friday night at Enterprise Center. Prior to that, the Blues played 13 of their previous 15 games on the road.

The Blues have lost their last three games by the combined score of 11-2. In their last two games, they had 71 shots and scored just once.

“It’s not from the lack of trying, or a lack of effort,” Blues center Brayden Schenn said. “When things aren’t going your way offensively, the shots are there but I don’t think we have enough high-quality shots or second chances, and getting guys and pucks to the net at the right time.”

Ducks goaltender John Gibson played brilliantly against the Blues on Friday while stopping 33 shots. But Blues coach Craig Berube noted his team’s inability to get deflections and rebound conversions.

“It’s traffic,” Berube said. “We need more traffic. We need to go to the net harder. You’ve got to make it more difficult on the goalie than we are right now. We’re getting good quality, lots of quality, but it’s two nights in a row where the goalie out-competed us.”

The Ducks snapped a three-game losing streak Friday. They beat the Blues for the first time in five tries, won for the second time in nine games overall, and earned their first regulation victory since Feb. 11.

“We did some good things,” Ducks forward Sam Steel said. “We stuck together and came up with two points. It was nice.”

They got a huge lift from Gibson, who returned to the net after missing six games with a lower-body injury. He made a number of outstanding saves Friday, including throwing his legs into the air to rob Vladimir Tarasenko with a skate save.

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“He was obviously our best player on the ice,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “Just a great, great performance by Gibson. He’s got a great feel for the game.

“He lights up the bench. He put on a performance like no other. It was not only inspiring but also comforting to know you’ve got that level of goalie in your net. We played very well in front of him. When we tightened up there in the second period, he stayed relaxed and kept a smile on his face. He kept the puck out of the net. That’s what we need from Gibson.”

The Duck fed off Gibson’s confidence.

“He was a great leader, during TV timeouts coming to the bench and telling the boys to take a breath,” Ducks forward Max Jones said. “Then after the next couple of shifts, we go out there and score. It was a really good positive night for the team and something moving forward we’re going to focus on.”

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Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (10-10-4, 2.77 goals-against average) played in back-to-back nights for the first time this season. He stopped 29 of 33 shots collectively against the Ducks and the Wild, who defeated the Blues, 2-0 on Thursday in Saint. Paul, Minn.

He seems likely to get a rematch with Gibson (7-12-5, 3.02 GAA).

The Ducks lost rookie defenseman Jamie Drysdale to an upper-body injury on Friday. His status for this game is uncertain.

–Field Level Media

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