PREVIEW: St. Louis Blues aim to extend mastery of Anaheim Ducks

By Field Level Media
Mar 20, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso (35) stands in the net during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues will try remain unbeaten against the Anaheim Ducks when they host their West Division rivals Friday night.

The Blues have won their four games against the Ducks by the combined score of 18-8. They will play the Ducks again Sunday in St. Louis.

While the Ducks enter the Friday matchup following a day off, the Blues will be competing on the second night of a back-to-back set. St. Louis outshot the Minnesota Wild 37-11 on Thursday but lost 2-0 in Saint Paul, Minn.

The defeat capped a stretch in which the Blues played 11 of 13 games on the road, and St. Louis went 6-4-3 in that span.

More recently, the Blues are just 2-4-3 in their past nine games. After starting the season 7-2-1, they have gone 9-10-4 to settle into fourth place in the division.

“We’re putting lots of pressure on ourselves right now, maybe too much,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn told Fox Sports Midwest after the Thursday game. “But we know that we’re in a dogfight at the end and points are being taken by our opponents every single night in our division.

“(Friday) night we’ll be glad to be back home. It’s been a long March on the road.”

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The Blues started Jordan Binnington in goal Thursday, so they are likely to come back with rookie Ville Husso (6-3-1, 3.40 goals-against average) on Friday. Husso is 2-0 with a 2.52 GAA against the Ducks this season.

With No. 1 goaltender John Gibson on injured reserve, Anaheim probably will start Ryan Miller (3-7-1, 3.48 GAA) in the series opener.

The Ducks have lost seven of their past eight games. Since starting the season 6-6-3, they have gone 3-13-3 to plunge into the division cellar.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. It’s extremely tough,” coach Dallas Eakins said after the Ducks fell to the Wild 3-2 Wednesday night.

“We’ve got all of our guys tonight, basically to a man, work their tails off,” he said. “They were very in sync in a lot of the game. I have very little issues with our play. I thought we played hard, I thought we played smart. We got a bad bounce that ends up in our net.”

One Ducks player who picked up his play was forward Max Comtois, who scored against the Wild after sitting out Monday as a healthy scratch. The goal was his 10th of the season but his first in 10 games.

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“It’s no different than everybody in life. I had five bad days at the office and it’s a little reset, and I was ready to go tonight,” Comtois said. “Life is about character and how you bounce back … and I think I did a pretty good job tonight and I just have to keep going for the rest of the year.”

The Ducks continued their rebuild Wednesday by acquiring forward Alexander Volkov from the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Antoine Morand and a conditional seventh-round selection in 2023.

–Field Level Media