Blues-Ducks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 20, 2012
The St. Louis Blues are happy to have ended their playoff drought, but their attention is on other goals. The Blues will try to move a step closer to clinching the Western Conference's top seed and their first Presidents' Trophy in 12 years by earning a rare road win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. St. Louis (46-19-8) secured its first postseason berth in three years and second in seven seasons with a 3-1 road win over Tampa Bay on Saturday. Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots and Jaden Schwartz scored in his NHL debut to help the Blues avoid a third straight defeat. The win also kept St. Louis six points ahead of Vancouver in the West and three up on the New York Rangers in the race for the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason. The Blues haven't finished with the top record in the league since compiling 114 points in 1999-2000. "(Clinching the berth is) great, but I don't think anybody is focusing on the playoffs," Halak said. "We've got nine games left in the season, and we have to get as many wins as we can." As it continues a season-high seven-game trip, St. Louis will try to earn a victory in a place where it's had little success lately. The Blues have gone 2-13-1 with one tie in their last 17 visits to Anaheim and have lost four straight there, most recently falling 4-2 on Oct. 16 as the Ducks scored three goals in the third period. St. Louis has won two straight in the series and a 3-1 victory over Anaheim on March 8 is part of the club's current 10-2-1 surge. David Backes scored a pair of goals to lead the Blues to that win, but he's questionable for Wednesday after hurting himself while blocking a shot in Tampa. The team captain has played in 185 consecutive games. Center Andy McDonald is dealing with a bruised shoulder that caused him to miss Saturday's game, and St. Louis has three other players out with concussions. Veteran center Jason Arnott has been resting due to "bumps and bruises." The Blues will face a Ducks team that's gone 4-7-1 in its last 12 and is all but out of the postseason hunt. Anaheim (31-32-11) did manage to hurt the playoff hopes of a Pacific Division rival Monday, avoiding a third straight loss with a 5-3 win over San Jose. Corey Perry scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period while Bobby Ryan and Nick Bonino had three points apiece. "We had a lead during the last game (a 3-1 loss to Nashville on Sunday), and we let it slip away," said Bonino, who had a career-high three assists. "We wanted to show we could hold on to a lead." The Ducks will try to build on that win by avoiding their first three-game home losing streak since Dec. 29-Jan. 4. Jonas Hiller could be in net Wednesday, though Hiller, who started a team-record 32 straight games before Jeff Deslauriers won Monday, has struggled in the past five matchups with St. Louis. He's gone 2-3-0 with a 3.51 goals-against average in that span. Halak is 4-2-0 with a 1.76 GAA in his last six games against Anaheim and allowed a combined three goals in the last two wins. Ryan has totaled a team-best five points during the series with three goals and two assists. His 11 career goals against St. Louis are tied for his most versus an opponent.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

David Ortiz thinking about comeback after Chris Sale trade?

Jeff Fisher hilariously explains why he couldn’t find challenge flag

Dodgers have reportedly been in touch with Jose Bautista

D’Qwell Jackson suspended four games for PED use

Coaches irked by late-season Thursday night division games?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Donatas Motiejunas refuses to report to Rockets after they match RFA offer sheet

Green-Beckham touted fake charity for #MyCauseMyCleats

Rashaan Salaam dead at 42

Claire Smith becomes first woman to win BBWAA’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award

Report: Gregory eligible to practice, could play in Week 16

49ers say Colin Kaepernick will start against Jets

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Box Score 12/6: Klay Thompson and the ball of fire

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL sweaters)

This Jaguars regime needs to be put out of its misery

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 13

Championship Week as explained by Diana Ross

Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson

MLB Winter Meetings primer: Every team's trade temperature on the hot stove

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 13

Championship Week as explained by Diana Ross

Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson

Winter Meetings primer: Every team's trade temperature on the hot stove

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker