Anaheim Ducks at St. Louis Blues – Gameday Preview February 9, 2013

ST. LOUIS BLUES

vs. ANAHEIM DUCKS

February 9th, 2013
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Missouri
7:00 p.m. CST
TV: FOX Sports Midwest
Season Series is 0-0

The St. Louis Blues will take the ice tonight against the Anaheim Ducks for the first of three meetings this season.  Last year the Blues and Ducks split the four games they played with the home team coming out on top each game.  Coming into tonight the Blues are looking to get back on track while the Ducks hope to maintain there steady pace.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

(6-4-0, 3rd in Central)

After two embarrassing blowouts at home, the St. Louis Blues took a new approach to team practice on Friday with Coach Ken Hitchcock focusing on a teaching day rather than working the players hard as he typically would.  According to Hitch himself,

We probably would have done different things today. But you learn. You learn over time that it’s not the end of the world. If you treat it like the end of the world…. My job is to get them out of the ditch.  You don’t get them out of the ditch with a bunch of criticism and a bunch of conflict. My job is to get them back up and running and feeling good about themselves. As much as you want them to learn from the mistakes, they’ve got to see the good stuff, too.

Key players 

 

Feb 5, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Pietrangelo has been the best on the St. Louis Blues roster of late, but his defensive game has left more to be desired.  Still, putting up a point-per-game is difficult for a defenseman to do in the NHL and even more difficult when you are the only one scoring.  Look for Petro to be looking to extend his goal scoring streak tonight, but expect him to be setting up more plays than not.  Hitchcock is going to want to see Pietrangelo get the defensive side of his game up to par as the Blues lean heavily on the young player to protect their goalies.

Others to watch 

 

Feb 7, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Daniel Cleary (11) scores a goal past St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) during the first period at the Scottrade Center. Defending is St. Louis Blues defenseman Kris Russell (4). Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Elliott will once again be in between the pipes for the St. Louis Blues.  Elliott has looked terrible in the past few outings, but without the defense playing their game it is not making his job an easy one.  Elliott will be looking to get back on track tonight against a team that knows how to score.  I would expect that Brian Elliott does not want to put another blow out loss under his belt this season, so of all the Blues, I think Elliott has the most to prove tonight.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

(7-2-1, 1st in Pacific)

The Anaheim Ducks have been a bit of a surprise this season, but when you have some of the best goal scorers in the league on the same team a lot can be accomplished.  After the coaching change in Anaheim last season, the Ducks failed to improve their game enough to make the postseason and are looking to correct that this year.  Having a four game winning streak going into the game in Dallas last night, the Ducks saw just their second loss in regulation handed to them.  With tired legs and a loss suffered, the Ducks might not be at their best this evening.

Key players

 

Mar 21, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Hazlak (41) blocks a shot by Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu (11) in the third period at the Honda Center. The Ducks defeated the Blues, 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Saku Koivu been hot of late putting up four points in he last four games to increase his total this season to 11.  Koivu has been seeing the puck very well and doesn’t look affected by the long work stoppage.  Look for Koivu to be looking to add to his point totals tonight against a suffering Blues defense.

Others to watch

 

February 4, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss (1) defends the goal against Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne (8) during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Teemu Selanne is always the player to watch for the Anaheim Ducks.  With this season possibly being his last, this may be one of the last chances for Blues fans to see him on the ice.  Even though his age might indicate a suffering game, his play does not.  Selanne has managed to continue to put up points and is climbing up the all-time list of players each night.  Look for Selanne to try and up the ante tonight against Brian Elliott.  I am sure Selanne would like to score a few.

Bottom line

The St. Louis Blues are upset and they should be.  Tonight will not be an easy game as the Blues have lost three straight to division rivals.  Despite the momentum the Blues had at the beginning of the season, it looks like they may have to fight for a playoff spot if they don’t get their game together.  Anaheim has been terrific so far this year and will take advantage of any weakness they see in the Blues.  It will be an exciting game if the Blues can manage to stay in it and may be a matchup we could see in the postseason.

Injuries

Last night Jonas Hiller left the game after the first period with a lower body injury and is not expected to play tonight.  Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler is also out as he is on the injured list with a head injury.  St. Louis is still with Jaroslav Halak as he nurses his groin strain.  He has been skating in practice and is set to take shots against him today and tomorrow with the soonest return being on Monday night.

Let’s hope the St. Louis Blues can bring home a win tonight.  LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

Topics: Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues

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