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Preview: Ducks Open Four-Game Homestand Tonight vs. Blues

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (34-23-12, 80 points) open a crucial four-game homestand beginning tonight against the St. Louis Blues (36-27-5, 77 points) at Honda Center. (7 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830).

With victories in seven of their last 11 (7-3-1), Anaheim is currently in third place in the Pacific Division - one point behind second-place San Jose and one point ahead of LA (4th in division). After dropping back-to-back games in Nashville and Dallas on Thursday and Friday, respectively, the Ducks got some help on the out-town-scoreboard over the weekend. The Sharks, Kings and Calgary Flames all lost, and the Stars, who used a third period rally to defeat the Ducks on Friday, lost last night in Pittsburgh.

Though it has been a rough stretch of games recently for the Blues (they are just 2-6-2 in their last 10), they are coming off a resounding 7-2 victory over the Kings at STAPLES Center on Saturday. Seven different players recorded goals for St. Louis. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists, while Ivan Barbashev, Kyle Brodziak, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who find themselves three points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second and final wild card spot.

The Blues have been hit hard by injuries, especially on the blueline. Last week it was announced that veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will be out for the remainder of the season with a left hip injury. Joel Edmundson missed his 12th consecutive game on Saturday as he recovers from surgically repaired broken right arm and his status for tonight remains uncertain. Up front, Scottie Upshall remains out with a left MCL sprain.

Tonight's matchup concludes the three-game season series between the Ducks and Blues, which has seen Anaheim take the first two, both in St. Louis. The Ducks opened the series with a 3-2 victory on November 29 and followed it up with a 3-1 win on December 14. Anaheim's penalty kill, which has not allowed a power-play goal in nine of the last 10 games (25-for-27), is eight-for-eight on the PK against the Blues this season.

Anaheim is 42-36-11 all-time vs. St. Louis, including a 25-15-3 mark at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf has 35 points (9g/26a) in 38 career games vs. the Blues, tops among active Ducks. He enters tonight's game riding a seven-game scoring streak vs. St. Louis with eight points (3g/5a) dating to Jan. 2, 2015.

Getzlaf has 12 points (2g/10a) in the last five games he has appeared in along with 15 points (3g/12a) in his last eight. Anaheim's captain has reached the 50-point mark for the 11th time in his career, the most such seasons for a player in franchise history. Rickard Rakell enters tonight's game with eight goals and 11 points as part of a six-game point streak, matching his career high (fourth time, second time this season).

Video: The Ducks open their homestand against the Blues

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