This West Coast road trip finally comes to a close with a stop in Anaheim to face the
Mighty Ducks. Conventional wisdom holds that, if it weren't for the amazing run by the Blackhawks, the story of the year would have been the Anaheim Ducks. So, lucky for the Blues, we get to face one of the hottest teams in the league at the tail end of a long road trip, on the second day of back-to-backs, with travel in between. Yay. This will be a true test for the team and the players' focus. If they are to have any chance at all of winning, they will have to stick with the system for the entire 60 minutes. That's usually the case, but it is especially true tonight. Contrary to the popular song, if anyone "checks out" during the game, they may find themselves leaving the team.
The Enemy: The Ducks have been playing well all season long, and haven't slowed down at all. Their overall record is 17-3-3, but the real highlight is their home record: 10-1-0. That one loss was the home opener, and since then they've won 10 straight home games. A win tonight would tie a franchise record for consecutive home wins.
Goal-scoring is not a problem for the Ducks, with Ryan Getzlaf leading in both goals and overall points (10-19-29), and with Corey Perry (7-15-22) and Saku Koivu (7-14-21) right after him. That's 3 players above or equal to the Blues' leader Chris Stewart (9-12-21). The real story for Anaheim, though, has been the goaltending. The nominal starter, Jonas Hiller (likely starting tonight) has a record of 7-2-2 and 2.93 GAA / .896 save percentage. The breakout star for the Ducks has been Viktor Fasth. The rookie goaltender has posted a 10-1-1 record, with a 1.92 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
Special teams could play a big role tonight. Anaheim leads the league in Home Power Play, converting at a 35.5% rate. The Blues are third in the league in Road PP at 25.6%.
Final Verse: The game starts at 7:00 PM St Louis time. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, talk about last night's game, how fantastic Vladimir Sobotka is, or even share in the Teemu Selanne adoration that seems to be en vogue right now. Here is where today's musical selection comes from; The Dude Abides...
Jesus - the Big Lebowski (via firumuotaku)