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Ducks @ Blues PREVIEW: Please Play Defense

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

Game # 25

Anaheim Ducks @ St. Louis Blues

Wednesday, November 29th, 6:00PM PST


Radio: AM 830

The Enemy: St. Louis Gametime

The Anaheim Ducks are looking to put a stop to a 4-game losing streak when they travel to St Louis to take on the best in the West, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues hold an impressive 9-3-0 record on home ice, part of their Western Conference leading record of 17-6-1 overall. The Ducks have been struggling to find consistent offense and avoid being outshot heavily. Those struggles will simply have to change if the Ducks have any hopes of leaving Scottrade Center with any points, let alone two.

The Ducks are coming off of a very forgettable game at the United Center that saw Anaheim give up seven goals and never really appear to be in the game at all from the start. The Blackhawks skated circles around Anaheim and was able to more or less do anything that they wanted en route to the 7-3 shellacking that the Ducks received. Moving on to face shooters like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz will give the Ducks no second to breathe if they continue playing as they have been.

The Blues have been on a roll, as they have been all season, coming off a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. They will be well-rested and ready to continue their hot streak on Wednesday night when the Ducks come to town, so Anaheim needs to be ready from the drop of the puck. Coming back from being behind early in this game is not only unlikely but near impossible.

All Eyes On Me

The Ducks should without a doubt be keeping their eyes on Vladimir Tarasenko anytime he steps onto the ice. In their game on March 10th last season, it took Tarasenko all of 12 seconds to find the back of the net against Anaheim, and the Ducks should be ready for nothing less than a fast start like that again this time. Tarasenko has 12 goals so far this season and a 30-goal campaign seems likely at this rate for Tarasenko. He is notorious for his ability to release pucks at a ridiculous rate and from pretty much anywhere on the ice, so the Ducks may need another stellar performance from John Gibson to keep him off the scoresheet.

Keys to the Game

1. Get Better Defensively - This one feels like it probably doesn’t require too much of an explanation. You give up 40+ shots on goal to the best team in the Western Conference and you’re going to lose. Simple as that. Get in the shooting lanes, control the puck, and for the love of all things holy, help out John Gibson by clearing pucks and bodies out of the crease.

2. Special Teams - Surprisingly, the St Louis Blues is not the best at special teams, considering how well they’ve done this season. They currently have the league’s 20th ranked power play and 25th ranked penalty kill. If the Ducks can take advantage of the opportunities they get on the power play, they might be able to force mistakes from the Blues.

3. Find the Offense - This may also seem like an obvious key to any game, but the Blues are currently ranked 25th in goals against per game played, meaning they’re winning, but they’re doing so in high-scoring shootouts. If the Ducks can get out in front early and continue piling on pressure, they should be able to find the back of the net at least a few times and it could make for an exciting game.