The Anaheim Ducks are the last team to take the ice after the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They'll face a tough assignment when they go back to work.
The St. Louis Blues come to Honda Center on Friday night for a showdown between the top two teams in the Western Conference. The Ducks, who haven't played since beating the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Feb. 8, have an NHL-high 87 points. The Central Division-leading Blues have 84 points despite losing 1-0 to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
Here's a look at all of the action Friday:
San Jose Sharks at Buffalo Sabres -- The Sharks started their road trip with a flourish Thursday night by scoring five times in the second period and routing the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3. Joe Pavelski had a hat trick, and Logan Couture and Raffi Torres each scored twice. The Sabres are last in the overall standings but are going for their third win in four nights. Buffalo scored in the final minute against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday to force overtime, and then earned a 5-4 win when Matt D'Agostini scored 22 seconds into OT. This could be the final home game for goaltender Ryan Miller, who becomes a free agent this summer and could be dealt before the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday.
Phoenix Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche -- The Coyotes are also playing their second game in as many nights. They lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and enter the night trailing the Dallas Stars by one point in the race for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Avalanche are smarting after seeing a 4-2 lead against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night turn into a 6-4 loss.
Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks -- The Wild resumed play following the Olympic break by shutting down the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 on Thursday night. Darcy Kuemper stopped all 21 shots he faced for his second shutout. Minnesota has won three in a row and will try to sweep a two-game visit to Western Canada. The Canucks won their first game after the break by blanking the Blues 1-0 on Wednesday. Eddie Lack made 20 saves, and Jannik Hansen scored midway through the third period.
St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks -- The Ducks' lead on the Blues is based on their success in head-to-head matchups. Anaheim won both of its visits to St. Louis, outscoring the Blues 8-4 in the process. St. Louis got an excellent effort by goaltender Jaroslav Halak in Vancouver but was outshot 35-20 and generated little offense. The Honda Center crowd is sure to give an especially warm welcome to Teemu Selanne, who was named MVP of the Olympic tournament after leading Finland to the bronze medal.
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