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Blues try to snap slide vs. Ducks

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (7-2-1) at BLUES (6-4-0)

TV: PRIME, FS-Midwest

Season series: This is the first of three meetings this season. The teams split four games in 2011-12, with the home team winning all four.

Big story: The Ducks are one of the surprise teams in the new season, with only two regulation losses in 10 games - the second was a 3-1 defeat in Dallas on Friday night. The Blues started the season by winning six of their first seven but have hit the skids since then, losing three in a row - including 6-1 and 5-1 home losses this week.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim took a four-game winning streak into Friday night's game at Dallas, but allowed two first-period power-play goals and never recovered. Nick Bonino scored late in the second period, but the Ducks ultimately paid for their slow start with a 3-1 loss in which they were outshot 16-7 in the first period and managed only 21 shots overall.

"I think it was the effort - we didn't get it going until the second period," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "We have to stay disciplined. We have to control our emotions and make sure we're ready right off the bat.

"In the first period we weren't moving. We weren't competing. When you don't do that, you can't win a game in the NHL."

Blues: On the day after his team was embarrassed 5-1 at home by Detroit, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock eschewed a bag skate or a puck-less practice in favor of a video session. He admitted afterward that times have changed, and that he might well have done things another way a few years ago.

"We probably would have done different things today," Hitchcock said Friday. "But you learn. You learn over time that it's not the end of the world. If you treat it like the end of the world .... my job is to get them out of the ditch.

"You don't get them out of the ditch with a bunch of criticism and a bunch of conflict. My job is to get them back up and running and feeling good about themselves. As much as you want them to learn from the mistakes, they've got to see the good stuff, too."

Who's hot: Saku Koivu leads the Ducks with 11 points, including four in he last four games. Bonino had Anaheim's lone goal on Friday, his fourth in four games. … Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored both of the Blues' goals in their last two games.

Injury report: Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller left after the first period Friday night with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Cam Fowler (head) is on the injured list. … The Blues are still without goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin), though he's started practicing again and could be back in the lineup as early as Monday.

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