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Blues-Mighty Ducks Preview

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Blues-Mighty Ducks Preview

GAME: St. Louis Blues (7-19-4) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (15-14-6).

TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Saddled with the league's worst record, the St. Louis Blues may have found a temporary solution to their goaltending problems with rookie Jason Bacashihua.

The 23-year-old netminder will likely try to build on his first career win and try to help St, Louis win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month when they visit the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Having waived Patrick Lalime earlier this month, the Blues recalled Bacashihua to back up new starter Curtis Sanford. St.Louis lost Sanford to a hip injury last week and promoted the rookie from Peoria of the American Hockey League.

A first-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2001, Bacashihua earned his first NHL win Tuesday by stopping 33 shots including several key stops late in a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

"Cash played well," right wing Scott Young said. "Those were point-blank shots. They were quality chances, too. They weren't perimeter shots. They were rebounds, spot shots. They were in tight."

Bacashihua got plenty of help as Mike Sillinger scored twice on the power play and Jamal Mayers provided the game-winner in the third period.

Sillinger played with Anaheim from 1994-96, recording 15 goals and 26 assists in parts of two seasons. He has five goals in his last six games.

St. Louis has not won back-to-back games since Nov. 16-19 after ending 11-game skid.

Anaheim lost for the fifth time in six road games with a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was lifted after allowing three goals to the Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo. including one on a penalty shot.

Giguere is 4-0-1 with 2.17 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in his last five home games against St. Louis.

Former Shark Teemu Selanne scored for the Ducks. He has three goals in two games this season against the Blues.

STANDINGS: Blues - 18 points, 5th place, 31 PB, Central Division. Mighty Ducks - 36 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Dean McAmmond, 10 goals; Doug Weight, 17 assists and 23 points; Mayers, 74 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Teemu Selanne, 17 goals and 28 points; Scott Niedermayer, 20 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 57 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blues - Power play: 15.4 percent (33 for 214), 22nd (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (155 for 192), 21st. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 15.4 percent (33 for 214), 26th. Penalty killing: 83 percent (191 for 230), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Reinhard Divis (0-2-0, 0 SO, 4.92 GAA); Bacashihua (1-1-0, 0, 3.92). Mighty Ducks - Giguere (9-5-6, 0, 2.73); Ilya Bryzgalov (6-9-0, 9, 2.51).

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 28; Mighty Ducks, 6-4. At Anaheim, Calif., Selanne scored a pair of goals, including one of three Ducks power-play tallies, handing the Blues their fourth straight loss.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 3-8-2 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 12-6-3 at home.


Associated Press

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