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Reply To: NHL • Friday Service Plays • 3/11/16

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Preview: Anaheim at St. Louis

When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, March 11, 2016
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Blues are making a strong push for first place in the ultra-competitive Central Division and go for their fifth consecutive victory when they host the surging Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. The Blues are coming off a huge victory, outlasting Chicago in a shootout to move within one point of the Blackhawks and division co-leader Dallas.

“We come out of here with two points, find another way to win and get one more day to get a few more healthy bodies back here,” St. Louis captain David Backes said. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Blues, who open a five-game road trip at Dallas on Saturday night. The Ducks, who trail first-place Los Angeles by one point in the Pacific Division, come to town having lost back-to-back outings following an 11-game winning streak. Anaheim had its 14-game point streak snapped in a 3-0 loss at Colorado on Wednesday – its first regulation defeat since Feb. 8.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN West (Anaheim), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE DUCKS (37-20-9): Anaheim’s players were not satisfied after being blanked for the first time since Jan. 6 and absorbing consecutive losses for the first time since Dec. 21-22. “We weren’t prepared to play tonight. Simple as that,” said captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has registered 29 points in 33 career games against the Blues. “We got to look at this game and rebound and play better against St. Louis.” The Ducks could be short-handed after defenseman Sami Vatanen exited Wednesday’s game and was forced to sit out Thursday’s practice due to an upper-body injury.

ABOUT THE BLUES (39-20-9): With second-leading scorer Alexander Steen missing the past seven games, Backes is helping pick up the scoring load with a pair of goals during a four-game point streak. Forward Troy Brouwer turned in a superb performance against the Blackhawks, scoring a goal to match his total from the previous 12 games combined while delivering a game-high nine hits. Starting goaltender Jake Allen lost his first three decisions since returning from an injury absence of more than six weeks, but has rattled off four consecutive victories to match his career best with 22 wins.

OVERTIME

1. Allen is 3-0-0 with a 0.97 goals-against average versus Anaheim.

2. The Ducks are 0-for-6 on the power play in the past two contests afer converting 19-of-43 during their winning streak.

3. The NHL rescinded a game misconduct penalty against Blues F Ryan Reaves for his hit on D Christian Ehrhoff in Wednesday’s game.

PREDICTION: Ducks 3, Blues 2