Preview: St. Louis at Anaheim
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, January 8, 2016
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
The St. Louis Blues have seen the bottom fall out during their four-game losing skid, as they’ve entered the final period of each contest either leading or tied before escaping with just two points (0-2-2). After squandering a two-goal lead in its last game, St. Louis looks to put an end to its troubles when it continues its three-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
“Sometimes, I think you’re finding ways to win and sometimes it’s almost like you’re finding ways to lose,” said Blues veteran forward Paul Stastny, who had an assist to extend his season-high point streak to five games in the 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado on Wednesday. “We’re kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. … It’s frustrating, but we’ve got to find ways to stay mentally strong.” Anaheim saw its five-game point streak (4-0-1) come to a screeching halt on Wednesday with a 4-0 setback to Toronto. All-Star John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury early in the third period, but practiced on Thursday and was deemed day-to-day by the team.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Prime Ticket (Anaheim)
ABOUT THE BLUES (23-14-6): All-Star Vladimir Tarasenko, who tallied in St. Louis’ 2-1 victory over Anaheim on Oct. 29, recorded a goal and an assist for his 12th multi-point performance of the season on Wednesday. Colton Parayko netted the game-winning tally in the first meeting, but his offensive production has slowed to a crawl as the rookie defenseman has just one point (an assist) in his last nine contests. Jake Allen’s overtime gaffe proved to be his undoing versus the Avalanche, but he has stopped 73-of-75 shots to win all three career meetings with Anaheim.
ABOUT THE DUCKS (16-16-7): With Gibson’s injury fresh in the team’s mind, Anaheim acquired goaltender Dustin Tokarski from Montreal for forward Max Friberg on Thursday. The 26-year-old Tokarski has toggled between St. John’s of the American Hockey League and the Canadiens with reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price sidelined by a lower-body ailment. Tokarski, who is 1-3-0 with a 3.19 goals-against average this season with Montreal, posted a 9-13-4 mark in 26 regular-season NHL games.
1. Anaheim D Hampus Lindholm’s last goal came against St. Louis in October.
2. The Blues have lost nine straight at the Honda Center, with their last win coming in 2009.
3. The Ducks have killed off all 19 short-handed situations over the last five games.
PREDICTION: Blues 2, Ducks 0