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Preview: Ducks Face Western Conference-Leading Blues Tonight in St. Louis

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com

The Ducks (10-10-4, 24 points) continue their six-game road trip tonight against the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues (17-6-1, 35 points) at Scottrade Center (6 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). This represents Anaheim's seventh game in the last 11 days, a stretch that began on November 24 against Winnipeg. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will tackle a back-to-back set Friday in Columbus and Saturday in Nashville. The trip will finish up in Las Vegas next Tuesday. In a stretch that began November 25 and will conclude December 23, the Ducks will have completed a pair of season-long six-game road trips and will have spent 22 of 29 days away from Honda Center.

Anaheim is coming off a 7-3 defeat against the Chicago Blackhawks two nights ago at the United Center in a game that featured Chris Wagner's first multi-goal and three-point performance of his career. John Gibson played the opening 26:31 before he was relieved by Ryan Miller, who went the rest of the way.

Brandon Montour will miss his first game of the season tonight due to a hyperextended elbow suffered in the game against the Blackhawks, as reported by Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register. Montour was one of two Ducks defensemen (Josh Manson) to appear in every game this season. 

"It looked a lot worse than it actually is, but if it was a different time of the year, he might be playing," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "We don't want to risk this turning into anything long term for us."

St. Louis enters tonight's game with seven wins in its last 10 games (7-3-0) including a 6-3 victory on Saturday against Minnesota. The Blues scored three power-play goals and added a shorthanded tally in the win, which featured a multi-goal performance from Jaden Schwartz (10th multi-goal game of his career). The Blues have racked up 14 goals over their last three games, including an 8-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on November 21. St. Louis has won four of five, its lone defeat a 2-0 shutout loss against the Nashville Predators last Friday. For what it's worth, Jake Allen (13-5-1, 2.75 GAA, .908 SV%) is 5-0 with a 1.40 GAA and a .946 SV% in five career home games vs. Anaheim.

"Lots of confidence," Carlyle said to reporters on what he sees from the Blues. "They have three lines that are really cooking and getting contributions from different people. They have a big, mobile defense. They're a hard team to play against. Their tenacity is demonstrated by their eagerness on the puck. You see it on the power play and on five-on-five. In the last game, they were all over Minnesota early in the hockey game."

This marks a three-game season series between the Ducks and Blues and the first of two in a 15-day span in St. Louis. The Ducks will return to Scottrade Center to open a six-game road trip on Thursday, December 14. The series finale will take place on Monday, March 12 at Honda Center. The Ducks are 40-36-11 all-time vs. the Blues, including a 15-21-8 mark in St. Louis. The Ducks went 1-1-1 against the Blues last season and picked up a 2-1 victory in the most recent meeting on March 15 in Anaheim. Corey Perry leads active Ducks in career scoring vs. St. Louis with 20 points (9g/11a) in 39 career games.

NOTE: Paul Kariya, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 13, will be honored before the game and take part in a ceremonial faceoff.

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