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Trade-altered Blues host Ducks

by John Kreiser /
DUCKS (32-23-4) at BLUES (26-21-9)

TV -- RDS; PRIME (HD), FS-Midwest (HD)

Last 10 -- Anaheim 6-4-0; St. Louis 4-4-2

Season series -- It's the third of four games this season. The home team has won each of the first two comfortably: St. Louis blew out the Ducks 5-1 on Oct. 11 but lost 7-4 in Anaheim on Jan. 12.

Big story -- The Blues flew home after Friday's 3-0 win at Buffalo, a game that came hours after the team dealt captain Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay -- only to get a bigger shock when the team dealt 2006 No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson and veteran forward Jay McClement to Colorado for power forward Chris Stewart and rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Team Scope:

Ducks -- With Jonas Hiller on the shelf, the Ducks need backup Curtis McElhinney to step up -- and it hasn't happened. Two nights after being shelled for seven goals by Washington, McElhinney was beaten five times by the offensively challenged Wild in a 5-1 loss at Minnesota that dropped them to eighth in the West.

There need to be some saves made at critical points in the game, and they aren't happening right now," said McElhinney, who made only 21 saves. "I need to find a way to get it done."

Blues -- St. Louis is also without its starting goaltender. But Ty Conklin stepped up big-time in Buffalo and got a lot of help from his teammates, who completely shut down the Sabres. Conklin finished with 25 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Blues are 4-1-2 in their last seven, though they are still seven points out of the last playoff spot.

Conklin admitted afterward that having Brewer traded on game day presented some extra challenges.

"To be honest, we had a lot of distractions today. Seeing Brew go right before the game, our captain," Conklin said. "He's a hell of a good teammate, so it's pretty impressive how the team responded."

Who's hot -- Anaheim's Corey Perry is one of the hottest players in the NHL. Perry had the Ducks' lone goal on Friday and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 30. He has 5 goals and 10 assists during a seven-game points streak. … Blues forward T.J. Oshie had a goal and assist against the Sabres and has 4 points in four games.

Injury report -- Hiller is on IR with fatigue and light-headedness. … Blues starter Jaroslav Halak is also on IR due to a hand injury. Forward David Perron has been out nearly three months with a concussion.

Stat pack -- Eight of the last 14 games between the teams at the Scottrade Center has gone past regulation. Both teams have won four -- but in different ways. The Ducks are 3-1 in shootouts, while the Blues have won three of the four games decided in regulation.

Puck drop -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has a decision to make about McElhinney -- does he give him another shot and start him for the third time in four nights, or does he give untested rookie Timo Pielmeier, an ECHL call up, his first NHL start? McElhinney has a 4.06 goals-against average and has lost his three career starts against the Blues, all in St. Louis. Carlyle was non-committal after Friday's loss.

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