Preview: St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks

Blues forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn fight for the puck along the boards. (Photo Courtesy: Jae C. Hong, AP)

Anaheim, CA – The St. Louis Blues (34-25-6) welcome Brayden Schenn back into the top line Wednesday evening as they kick off a three-game road trip on the west coast against the Anaheim Ducks (26-32-9) and look to avoid their first three-game losing streak since November 24th. Despite a rough February schedule (14 games through four weeks), the Blues shined as they made franchise history, getting 11 straight victories, going 11-3-1 in February, and earned a 3rd place spot in the Central Division. Meanwhile, Anaheim’s struggles have only continued this season as they sit 5th last in the NHL and second last in the Pacific Division with 61 points, 11 out of a playoff spot.

Though Anaheim is struggling through one of their worst seasons in recent history, Anaheim’s top goal-scorer Jakob Silfverberg had no intentions of jumping ship after recently signing a 5-year, $26.25 million extension last Saturday. The 28-year-old Swedish forward has 18 goals and 28 points (notching 2 points last night) through 58 games played in his sixth straight season with Anaheim. “I really like it here. My son was born here, too, and my wife loves it here.” Silfverberg said, per the team’s official website. “Other than this year, this is a winning organization. It’s a place to win…Within the next five years, this is going to be a contending team again. I’m excited for the future.” The Ducks have been plagued with injuries; Corey Perry has only dressed in 16 games as of today, and Adam Henrique has been the only player to dress every game this season. Despite a long road filled with injuries and recovery, Ryan Kesler played in his 1000th career NHL game last night against Arizona, split between Vancouver and Anaheim.

The Ducks will look to continue their win streak after last night’s 3-1 win against the Coyotes and Sunday’s win against the Avalanche. The bottom lines got the job done last night with goals from Silfverberg, Henrique, and rookie Troy Terry. The Blues will try to get back into the win column after their longest break since late January allowed the team to take a day off and recover before getting back on schedule. As mentioned, the Blues’ top line has eagerly awaited the return of Brayden Schenn to the top line with Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, who have combined for just two points in their last five games. Schenn has been out since February 12th, missing the last six games with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, players like Pat Maroon, riding on points in eight straight, and Jaden Schwartz, who has five assists in seven games, will look to continue their hot streaks in the Golden State. Finally, the newest Blue, Michael Del Zotto, acquired at the trade deadline, could look to get in the lineup tonight for the first time wearing the Note against his former squad.

The puck drops at the Honda Center at 10pm ET and will play on national television. Ways to watch that broadcast or listen to the game are provided by:

STL – NBCSN, KMOX, NHL.tv

ANA – NBCSN, KLAA, NHL.tv

PROJECTED LINEUPS

ST. LOUIS

FORWARDS:

10 Schenn – 90 O’Reilly – 91 Tarasenko

7 Maroon – 21 Bozak – 18 Thomas

17 Schwartz – 70 Sundqvist – 20 Steen

62 MachEachern – 49 Barbashev – 9 Blais

DEFENSE:

27 Pietrangelo – 6 Edmundson

19 Bouwmeester – 55 Parayko

29 Dunn – 42 Del Zotto

IN GOAL:

50 Binnington

ANAHEIM

FORWARDS:

63 Roy – 15 Getzlaf – 10 Perry

49 Jones – 17 Kesler – 24 Rowney

11 Sprong – 14 Henrique – 61 Terry

67 Rakell – 34 Steel – 33 Silfverberg

DEFENSE:

4 Fowler – 2 Guhle (?)

42 Manson – 47 Lindholm

5 Holzer – 43 Megna

IN GOAL:

36 Gibson

GAME NOTES

Oskar Sundqvist will play his 100th game as a Blue… Alexander Steen will play his 694th game as a Blue, tying Patrik Berglund for sixth on the all-time franchise list…Anaheim ranks last in the league in goals for (144)… Cam Fowler will play his 606th game as a Duck, tying Paul Kariya for fourth on the all-time franchise list

For more local Blues stories, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!

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