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Preview: Ducks, Blues Close out Season Series Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (36-23-10, 82 points) continue a three-game homestand tonight vs. the St. Louis Blues (36-27-5, 77 points) at Honda Center (7 p.m. PT, NBCSN/AM 830). Anaheim has won three of its last four games (3-1-0) and four of its last six (4-2-0) dating to the end of their bye week on March 3. The Ducks are also 5-1-0 in their last six home contests and have posted a 12-4-1 record at Honda Center since January 1, which ranks second among NHL teams in home standings points (25) and wins.

Anaheim comes into tonight's contest ranked third in PK% (84.9%), tied for eighth in fewest goals allowed (172) and seventh in goals against per game (2.49). The Ducks have 13 games remaining on their regular season schedule, including eight at Honda Center. Following tonight's contest, the Ducks will wrap up the homestand on Friday vs. the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. PT).

The Ducks and Blues conclude their three-game season series tonight just five days after they faced off at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. That night, defenseman Joel Edmundson scored with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Blues to a 4-3 win against the Ducks, snapping Anaheim's two-game winning streak. Anaheim and St. Louis first met on January 15 at Honda Center, a 2-1 Blues overtime win. The Ducks have posted a 39-36-11 all-time record vs. the Blues, including a 24-15-2 mark in Orange County with points in 11 consecutive games (10-0-1, 21 points). Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has 32 points (8g/24a) in 36 career games against the Blues, tops among all current Anaheim skaters. Patrick Eaves has three goals in five games vs. St. Louis this season, while Rickard Rakell has collected three points (2g/1a) in the first two games of the season set.

The Ducks come into the game three nights removed from a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. The "Big Three" composed of Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry combined for nine points (three points apiece), while Rakell tallied his team-leading 29th goal and reached the 40-point mark for the second consecutive season. Jonathan Bernier stopped 25 of 27 shots for his 13th victory of the season (13-7-2) and his fifth win in his last seven starts. The victory gave Anaheim sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division at the time, but has since dropped to third place because of the Calgary Flames' victory two nights ago. Though tied in points with the Flames (who have won 10 in a row), Calgary owns the tiebreaker with two more ROWs (35 to Anaheim's 33). The Ducks and Flames will meet twice more, a home-and-home series on April 2 and 4. Lurking in the first wild card spot are the Edmonton Oilers, one point behind the Ducks and Flames.

The Blues earned a big victory on Monday night when they defeated the LA Kings, 3-1, at STAPLES Center. Currently holding the second wild card spot, St. Louis enters tonight's game riding a five-game winning streak, one shy of tying its season high (six games, February 6-16). The Blues are four points up on the Kings and only two points behind the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division.

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