Ducks at Blues preview: St. Louis can clinch playoffs with win

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues take on the Anaheim Ducks for the final time this season on Wednesday. A Blues win combined with an Arizona Coyotes regulation win over the Los Angeles Kings would clinch the final playoff spot in the West Division for St. Louis. After a strong 3-1 Blues win over the Ducks on Monday, it will look to sweep back-to-back games against the lowest-ranked team in the West.

Monday’s game saw goals from Brayden Schenn and Ryan O’Reilly, plus the game-winner by Robert Bortuzzo. David Perron recorded an assist in his 900th career game, giving him his 600th career point and 400th as a Blue. Jordan Binnington found his form again, stopping 19 of 20 shots, good for a .950 save percentage (SV%). It was an all-around successful night for St. Louis, and it will look to repeat that same success on Wednesday in hopes of booking their tickets to the 2021 NHL Playoffs.

Former Blues captain David Backes will suit up for Anaheim in what is likely to his final game against the Blues. The 37-year-old, who played 10 season in St. Louis and served as captain from 2011 to 2016, is expected to retire after this season. It will be an emotional farewell for Blues fans to a player that was deeply loved by the team’s supporters for his hard-working attitude and leadership. Backes ranks seventh in all-time Blues points (460), goals (206) and games played (727).

Jordan Binnington and John Gibson are expected to start in net for St. Louis and Anaheim, respectively. Binnington was near-perfect in Monday’s game, only allowing one goal against on 20 shots. He will look to potentially secure a playoff spot for the Blues on Wednesday and get himself going on a hot streak after two strong performances. On the other end of the ice, Gibson hopes to play spoiler to St. Louis. Although the Ducks lost on Monday, it was by no means his fault, as he posted a .935 SV% and turned aside 29 of 31 shots. It would be in the best interest of the Blues to score some early goals in case Gibson has another strong outing. (Update: Anthony Stolarz is in net for the Ducks, making his seventh career start).

The puck drops at Enterprise Center on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. CT.

As per, the Blues’ projected lineup against the Ducks is as follows:

Brayden Schenn – Ryan O’Reilly – David Perron

Jaden Schwartz – Tyler Bozak – Zach Sanford

Mike Hoffman – Robert Thomas – Jordan Kyrou

Kyle Clifford – Ivan Barbashev – Mackenzie MacEachern

Marco Scandella – Justin Faulk

Niko Mikkola – Colton Parayko

Jake Walman – Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Ville Husso

Scratched: Steven Santini

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (lower body), Torey Krug (upper body), Vince Dunn (upper body), Sammy Blais (upper body)