For whatever reason, the Ducks cannot seem to figure out the Sharks this season. After what was one of the worst games of the season, the Ducks have a chance to rebound and win a game against another great Western Conference team. The Blues are third in the Central Division with 47 standings points. This is the last matchup between the Duck and Blues. The first two games of the series were both shutouts, a 3-0 win for the Ducks at Honda Center and a 2-0 win for the Blues at Scottrade Center.
Despite being shutout by the Sharks in the final game of 2014 and allowing 10 power play chances, Frederik Andersen ended the game with a .923 save percentage and kept the Ducks in it. Take a look at one of his best saves of the game (the guy is amazing):
Andersen had only three losses in the month of December, and one of them was in a shootout. Freddie earned his first NHL shutout against the Blues in early October and he will have to be great again if the Ducks hope to get back on track. Martin Brodeur is expected to start in net for the Blues, marking the third goaltender used for the Blues in this season series. No matter who is in net for St. Louis, Brian Elliott, Jake Allen (who earned the 2-0 shutout against the Ducks) and living dinosaur Martin Brodeur, there will be solid goaltending to deal with.
The Ducks were able to shutout the Blues with a great defensive effort, but they were also able to score on the power play. Scoring on two of three power plays helped the Ducks take control of the game early against the Blues. Recently the Ducks have failed to get any momentum from their power plays. The Ducks did not capitalize on multiple opportunities against the Sharks on New Year's Eve. Whether it was even strength or on the power play, the Ducks failed to finish plays. To beat a healthy Blues team, the Ducks cannot afford to let opportunities to score slip away.
What Can We Learn From This Game:
Now that Corey Perry and Tim Jackman are back in the lineup, we should start to see the lines come back to normal again. The power play should start to get better now that Perry can play too. Games between the Ducks and Blues have been highly contested, close games in the last two seasons (Like this, or this). The Ducks have not faced the Blues with a full lineup this season, and this should be the first game that the Ducks see Paul Stastny in a Blues uniform as he missed the first two games in October. David Backes and T.J. Oshie missed the last 2-0 Blues victory in St. Louis and will also be in the lineup. This should be a heavyweight battle between two of the best teams in the West, making it even more important for the Ducks to stay levelheaded. If this game gets out of hand early the Ducks could fall back into the mess that the game against the Sharks turned into.
Corey Perry starts a new scoring streak with a goal on the power play.