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After win streak snapped, Ducks visit Blues

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (36-9-5) at BLUES (32-9-5)


Last 10: Anaheim 8-2-0; St. Louis 8-2-0

Season series: The Anaheim Ducks handed the St. Louis Blues one of their four home regulation losses when they won 4-2 at Scottrade Center on Dec. 7. The Blues make their only visit of the season to Honda Center on Feb. 28.

Big story: The Ducks, who've been the NHL's hottest team since Thanksgiving, got no favors from the schedule-maker; they go from a 4-2 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday to St. Louis for the second half of perhaps the toughest back-to-back any team will face this season. The Blues have lost two of three following a seven-game winning streak.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim came to United Center as the second team in NHL history to have won 18 times in a 19-game stretch. The Ducks left with a two-goal loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions that ended their eight-game winning streak, their first defeat since Dec. 29.

"I don't think we played our best in the first two periods, and against a team like that you need to play for 60 minutes," Anaheim forward Kyle Palmieri said.

He's glad for the quick turnaround.

"They lost their last game in their own building, and that definitely will make them a little hungrier," Palmieri said of the Blues. "But that's the best part of hockey; we get to go back out there and do it again. Hopefully we'll get off to a good start and go from there."

Blues: St. Louis is getting reinforcements as it tries to bounce back from a 4-1 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Forward Alexander Steen, who was second in the NHL with 24 goals when he sustained a concussion on Dec. 21, will be back in the lineup after missing 11 games.

The Blues hope Steen can spark an offense that has scored four goals in three games.

"I think we're going to play him as much as he can handle," coach Ken Hitchcock said after practice Friday. "Hopefully he can get up to speed right away and play the minutes that he did before and contribute the way he did before because he was a huge impact player for us."

Who's hot: Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal in Chicago and has four goals and five assists during a six-game point-streak. … Forward T.J. Oshie has all three of the Blues' goals in their past two games; he scored on a penalty shot against the Kings. Goaltender Brian Elliott is 7-1-0 in his past eight starts and has allowed 11 goals in that span.

Injury report: The Ducks are without goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body) and defenseman Sheldon Souray, who had season-ending surgery on his right wrist Friday. Defenseman Luca Sbisa (wrist) was sent to Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Friday for a conditioning assignment. … Blues forward Maxim Lapierre (lower body) is on injured reserve.

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