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Ducks at Blues preview: Injuries leave Ducks vulnerable

Anaheim is missing their top scorers. Can the Blues capitalize?

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks are sitting at .500 right now after reaching the Western Conference finals last year, and it’s through no fault of their coaching staff or probably even the team itself (though granted, when you lose 7-3 against the Blackhawks like the Ducks did on Monday, it’s probably at least partially the team’s fault). It’s injuries. Big ones. As of today they’re missing:

  • Ryan Kesler (22G, 33A)
  • Patrick Eaves (11G, 3A)
  • Ryan Getzlaf (15G, 58A)
  • Richard Rakell (33G, 18A)

All of a sudden, I feel better about the Blues’ injuries from the start of the year. That list will soon be down to just two players being out: Robby Fabbri and Zach Sanford. Patrik Berglund may be returning to the lineup tonight, bolstering a third line that has been anemic nearly the entire season. Luckily for Berglund, he’ll probably be playing with rookie Sammy Blais, who has offensive potential, and Dmitrij Jaskin, who he has chemistry with and who has been playing better as of late. Oskar Sundqvist and Magnus Paajarvi will be the two forwards out when Berglund returns, which means that one of them (or Nate Prosser) will have to be sent down to the AHL.

Ahh, waiver intrigue. It’s been a while.

Having Berglund and Bouwmeester both back should help the penalty kill, which has been unusually weak this season (27th overall as of today) and could use stability. Bringing help to both the PK and the third line demonstrates how reliable Berglund is and what an important piece of the Blues’ core he is. The team has played extraordinarily well considering the damage they took this off-season, but it’s no coincidence that the third line and the PK has been underperforming in Berglund’s absence.