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Anaheim Ducks vs. St. Louis Blues @NHLdotcom
Mighty Ducks-Blues Preview

GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (28-31-10-8) at St. Louis Blues (34-28-11-2).

TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks aren't going to make the playoffs this season. They could have a say in who does.

Anaheim will try to play spoiler for the second consecutive game when it continues a four-game trip against the St. Louis Blues.

Eight points out of the final playoff spot with five games remaining means the Mighty Ducks won't get a chance to defend their Western Conference championship. Anaheim, however, made life difficult for one of the contending teams by beating Nashville 4-1 on Tuesday.

Sandis Ozolinsh and Petr Sykora scored second-period goals and Martin Gerber stopped 25 shots for the Mighty Ducks, 3-1-1 in their last five.

"Unfortunately, it's a little too late," Anaheim captain Steve Rucchin said. "We want to play, but it's pretty disappointing. We're happy about the win, but it's tough to go out here knowing we're out of the hunt. We're playing for pride right now."

Anaheim's Sergei Fedorov scored into an empty net Tuesday, giving him six goals and eight points in his last five games. Fedorov reached the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight season and 10th time in his career.

St. Louis, hoping to qualify for the playoffs for the 25th straight season, trails the final spot by one point with seven games remaining. The Blues are battling Nashville, Edmonton and Los Angeles for one of the final two postseason berths in the West.

"Me personally, I could care less about the streak," Blues defenseman Chris Pronger said. "Streaks are made to be broken. I want to make the playoffs for myself and my teammates. I want to make the playoffs to win the Stanley Cup, not to keep a streak going."

The Blues, off since a 3-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday, are 1-2-1 following a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2).

With his team scoring one goal or fewer in four of the last six games, more offense from top-line center Doug Weight would be a huge help to St. Louis. Weight has no goals and just six points in his last 15 games.

Chris Osgood, 9-1-2 in his career against Anaheim, has allowed three goals or fewer in 16 straight starts.

STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 74 points, 4th place, 20 PB, Pacific Division. Blues - 81 points, 3rd place, 18 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Fedorov, 30 goals and 63 points; Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal, 33 assists; Garrett Burnett, 153 PIM. Blues - Keith Tkachuk, 30 goals and 67 points; Weight, 46 assists; Mike Danton, 141 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 23): Mighty Ducks - Power play: 17.5 percent (52 for 297), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (282 for 334), 14th. Blues - Power play: 17.4 percent (55 for 317), 11th. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (294 for 348), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (16-29-6, 3 SO, 2.65 GAA); Gerber (11-10-4, 2, 2.28). Blues - Osgood (26-24-8, 2, 2.30); Reinhard Divis (4-3-2, 0, 2.84).


LAST MEETING: March 17; Tied, 1-1. At Anaheim, Calif., Martin Skoula scored with 4:30 left in regulation and Giguere made five of his 30 saves in overtime for the Ducks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 10-21-3-4 on the road; Blues - 20-10-7-0 at home.

Associated Press
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