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Ducks' Vatanen sidelined against Blues

Anaheim defenseman out with upper-body injury

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

DUCKS (37-20-9) at BLUES (39-20-9)


ST. LOUIS -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen will miss the game Friday against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury.

Vatanen, who had played in all 66 games for the Ducks this season, was injured in a 3-0 loss at the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. He did not practice Thursday in St. Louis and instead received treatment. He was not on the ice for an optional morning skate Friday.

The Ducks are in search of their first win in three games following a 14-game point streak (12-0-2).

"We're used to higher standards," Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano said. "I think we're disappointed in terms of just how easy we gave up goals. I think we've been much better at playing good, defensive hockey. To lose a game like that [Wednesday], I think it's something we haven't been used to. We all know what we need to do. This is an important game for us. A tough team to play against in a tough building."

The Ducks can leapfrog the Los Angeles Kings and into first place in the Pacific Division with two points Friday.

The Blues are in a tight race of their own in the Central Division. They enter Friday one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars for first place. Those two teams play Friday night in Dallas, where the Blues will play Saturday.

St. Louis is in search of a fifth straight win, which would tie a season high.

"We're playing another top team in the League that we're going to need our 'A' game again tonight to come out victorious," Blues captain David Backes said. "It's going to be a result of us concentrating on the process and making sure we take care of our task at hand every night and two points that's in front of us. If we do that more often than not, the rest will sort itself out.

"We know we've got divisional matchups and all those things mixed in, but we can't get wrapped up in looking at the standings and getting distracted from what we can really control, and that's each night bringing our 'A' game and seeing how it sorts itself out at the end of the night."

Here are the projected lineups:


David Perron - Ryan Getzlaf - Ryan Garbutt  

Jamie McGinn - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Nate Thompson - Mike Santorelli

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Simon Despres - Korbinian Holzer

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Injured: Sami Vatanen (upper body) Brandon Pirri (ankle), Chris Stewart (jaw)

Scratched: Clayton Stoner, Shawn Horcoff


Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Patrik Berglund - David Backes - Dmitrij Jaskin

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Anders Nilsson

Injured: Alexander Steen (upper body), Brian Elliott (lower body), Steve Ott (hamstrings)

Scratched: Magnus Paajarvi, Robert Bortuzzo

Status report: Holzer will replace Vatanen in the lineup, his first action since Jan. 23 (20 games). "You just have to have a positive mindset," Holzer said of the lengthy time away from NHL competition. "You just want to come in and help the team win. That's all I'm focused on."... Horcoff's 20-game suspension has ended but he will be a healthy scratch. ... Ott skated with teammates for the first time since Dec. 5 after tearing both hamstrings. ... Steen and Elliott were on the ice for a third straight day but are not ready to play.

Who's hot: Andersen is 4-1-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average and .946 save percentage against the Blues in five games. Getzlaf has 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 33 games against St. Louis. ... Allen is 3-0-0 with a 0.87 GAA and .966 save pct. in four games against the Ducks. … Fabbri has four points (two goals, two assists) in the past four games. Shattenkirk has a three-game point streak (four assists).

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