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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (7-2-1) at St. Louis Blues (6-4-0), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to rebound from their first loss of the month when they take on the sliding St. Louis Blues for Saturday's encounter at Scottrade Center.
The Ducks were 4-0 in February before losing Friday evening in Dallas. The 3-1 setback also ended Anaheim's streak of six games (5-0-1) with at least a point.
Anaheim fell behind 2-0 in the opening stanza and never recovered. The Ducks fired just 21 shots on Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen and they allowed the Stars to go 2-for-5 on the power play.
Jonas Hiller stopped 14-of-16 shots in the opening period for the Ducks, but was lifted after suffering a lower body injury. According to the team's official Twitter account, Hiller's injury "is not serious and he was removed primarily for precautionary reasons."
Rookie Viktor Fasth stopped 11-of-12 shots the rest of the way, while Nick Bonino scored Anaheim's lone goal.
The Stars capitalized on a roughing penalty to Brad Staubitz and scored on the power play 8:48 into the contest on Trevor Daley's blast from the high slot.
Dallas expanded to a 2-0 lead thanks to another man-advantage goal, this one resulting from a 5-minute major and game misconduct from Staubitz after a spearing penalty was called. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was not happy with that call to say the least.
"It wasn't a penalty," Boudreau said. "What do you want me to say. Good refs have bad games. Like good hockey players have bad games, good refs have bad games. He didn't do anything. A spear, as far as I know, is when you take the butt of the stick or the blade of the stick and you stick it in someone's gut. It hit him (Brenden Dillon) three quarters of the way up the shaft."
Anaheim is 1-1-0 at the start of a six-game road trip and the Ducks are 3-1-1 as the guest this season. The swing will continue with Tuesday's game at Chicago.
The Blues have struggled in February after posting a 6-1-0 mark in January to begin the season. St. Louis has dropped three straight in regulation at the start of the new month and has been outscored by an 11-2 margin over its last two contests. All told, the usually stout defensive club has surrendered 16 goals during the three-game skid.
St. Louis was dealt a 6-1 loss by Nashville on Tuesday and two nights later was handed a 5-1 setback by the Detroit Red Wings. The consecutive routs on home ice dropped the Blues' record at Scottrade Center this season to 3-2-0.
Alex Pietrangelo scored the lone goal on Thursday for the Blues, who last lost three straight in the regular season during an 0-2-2 stretch from March 29- April 6 of last season.
"Our team game is not good right now," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're cheating each other and we're cheating the game and we're paying the price for it."
Brian Elliott stopped 24-of-29 shots in the loss and is now 3-4-0 with a dreadful .864 save percentage and 3.30 goals against average this season. However, with Jaroslav Halak still injured with a strained groin, Elliott is expected to get a third straight start on Saturday.
Halak, who along with Elliott formed the league's best goaltending tandem in 2011-12, has been facing shots in practice over the last few days, but he isn't expected to return to game action until at least Monday's tilt versus Los Angeles.
Saturday's contest is the third portion of a four-game homestand for the Blues.
The Ducks have won three of the last five meetings overall against the Blues, but Anaheim has lost five straight in St. Louis. The Blues have outscored Anaheim by a 27-10 margin during their home winning streak in this series.
02/09 11:08:05 ET