PREVIEW: St. Louis Blues hope to tighten defense against reeling Anaheim Ducks

Mar 1, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (29) is pursued by Anaheim Ducks left wing Sonny Milano (12) in the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues will take a relentless offense into a rematch with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

The Blues’ defense remains a different story.

The Blues will enter the second game of a back-to-back at Anaheim having scored 12 goals in their past two games. The most recent goal-scoring onslaught came Monday when St. Louis scored five times yet still received a scare in a 5-4 victory.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Blues, check out #STLBlues rumors, rankings, and news here.

The game was a slightly milder version of the Blues’ 7-6 victory at San Jose on Saturday. That triumph ended a three-game losing streak.

As the Blues work their way through several injuries, scoring goals aplenty is nice. They led 4-1 at one point Monday before the Ducks pulled to within one goal twice.

But giving up 10 goals in two games is a concern. St. Louis entered play Tuesday giving up an average of 3.14 goals per game and surrendered three in the third period alone to the Ducks.

“It’s gonna happen, and definitely we don’t like to do that,” David Perron said about the close call after his second-period goal gave St. Louis the lead for good Monday. “But I liked a lot of things: the compete from a lot of the guys, taking care of each other, supporting, chipping pucks out.”

Zach Sanford had two goals and an assist Monday, while Jordan Kyrou scored a goal, as did Dakota Joshua in his NHL debut. Joshua essentially ran into his first career score, when the rebound off a save bounced off his right thigh as he charged the net, sending the puck across the line.

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“I was just driving hard to the net, and I got a nice greasy one for the first one,” said Joshua, who became the 17th player in Blues history to score a goal in his debut. “It was a great moment.”

All of the goals and the two recent victories are getting the Blues through the recent news that defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is out for the season with a knee injury. Center Jacob De La Rose was lost indefinitely to a lower-body injury last week. Forward Ivan Barbashev (ankle) was placed in injured reserve less than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Ducks have lost seven consecutive games, going 0-5-2 over that stretch. Yet they see reason for hope.

After four career games, 19-year-old rookie forward Trevor Zegras has shown impressive puck-handling skills. Since his arrival, the Ducks have come close to a victory, taking a three-goal lead in two separate games, going overtime with the Vegas Golden Knights and handing the Blues a scare.

Another Anaheim youngster, 21-year-old Isac Lundestrom, recorded his first career hat trick on Monday, scoring two of the goals in the third period. He entered with two goals in 44 career games.

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“(Lundestrom) skating like that and competing like that, it’s quiet leadership,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “We hope others take notice.

“I do give our guys credit. They came out in the third and fought like hell, so that’s encouraging. But for us to win, it’s got to be a full 60 minutes. Every moment is critical.”

–Field Level Media