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Ducks continue trip with a stop in St. Louis

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (23-21-7) at BLUES (22-21-7)

Last 10 - Anaheim 7-3-0; St. Louis 5-4-1

Season series - The teams are meeting for the third time this season, but the Ducks are visiting the Scottrade Center for the first time. Each team won once in Anaheim - St. Louis routed the Ducks 5-0 on Oct. 17, and Anaheim rallied for a 4-2 win on Jan. 7.

Big story - Both teams are trying to rebound from losses and gain ground in the Western Conference playoff logjam. The Ducks are playing the second game in a six-game trip, while the Blues have started to play better at the Scottrade Center but still own the fewest home points in the NHL (21).

Team Scope:

Ducks - Anaheim has won eight in a row at home, but the Ducks' magic was nowhere to be found on Thursday when they lost 3-1 at San Jose. They gave up goals to San Jose defensemen Rob Blake and Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the second, got one goal back early in the third period, but wasted two power-play chances before the Sharks hit the empty net. In all, Anaheim went 0-for-5 with the extra man while falling to 7-13-5 away from the friendly confines of the Honda Center.

"The big difference in the game was that our power play has to be a little bit better than that," center Ryan Getzlaf said. "We have to be able to make it when we have that man advantage. That was pretty much the difference in the game (Thursday). We had our chances and it's not for a lack of effort or execution. It's a matter of getting them into the net and past them."

Blues - While the Ducks couldn't score with the extra man on Thursday, the Blues couldn't kill penalties. Ottawa got all three of its goals on the power play in a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Thursday. It was a rare off-night for the Blues, who've killed 84.6 percent of their penalties to rank third in the Western Conference.

"It's definitely frustrating," goalie Chris Mason said of the inability to kill penalties. "Penalty kills is usually one of our strong suits and to give up three goals, you can't do that and expect to win."

Who's hot - Anaheim rookie Matt Beleskey has scored his first five NHL goals in the Ducks' last nine games, including their lone tally against the Sharks. … Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller, who is 12-5-0 with a 2.51 GAA in his last 17 starts overall, has won three of his four career outings against the Blues.

Injury report -- The Blues are healthy. Ducks right wing Joffrey Lupul has missed 21 games with a back injury. Right wing Teemu Selanne suffered a broken jaw and has missed four games. Both are out indefinitely. Saku Koivu injured his knee a week ago and could return on Tuesday.

Stat pack - The Blues are 5-4-1 under interim coach Davis Payne, who got the job when Andy Murray was fired. Mason is 1-7-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average in his career against the Ducks; backup Ty Conklin is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 GAA, including a 26-save shutout Oct. 17. … The Ducks are 6-1-1 in their last eight games against St. Louis.

Puck drop - Both teams desperately need the two points, and neither is playing to its strength - the Ducks have struggled on the road, while the Blues have only recently started to play better at home. Neither can afford a loss.

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