Gameday: Blues at Ducks

Ducks forward Jakub Silvferberg (33) works the puck behind the net around Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo (27). (Photo courtesy: Harry How, Getty Images)

2/11: Blues/Ducks, Honda Center, 9pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1

ANAHEIM – The dads hit the road with the St. Louis Blues (32-15-9) as they start a 2-game road trip with the Anaheim Ducks (23-26-7). The Blues have gone 2-5-2 in their last nine games after a 3-2 overtime loss to their division rival Dallas Stars. Colton Parayko put up his third career multi-goal game, but Roope Hintz answered with both the equalizer and the OT winner. The loss put the Colorado Avalanche within three points of the Blues for the Central Division lead.

“We haven’t played bad,” defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said in the STL Post-Dispatch. “It’s just scoring more goals and getting back to our games. We know when we play our game we’re good, but just have to ramp it up a little bit. We know where everyone else is; we’re in a good spot right now but we’ve just got to push forward from the last five games or so and play a full game.”

“We’ve got to find a way to finish games off,” coach Craig Berube said. “Find a way to win games. We’re just finding a way to lose them right now.”

The Anaheim Ducks are still in the thick of their rebuild, sharing the bottom of the Pacific standings with the other California teams. They’re one of only five teams in the league with a losing record, but they recently closed a 3-0-2 road trip, with a 3-2 win in Buffalo capping it off. Former Sabres goaltender and Vezina winner Ryan Miller made 31 saves against his draft club in Buffalo to close out the win.

“It’s always a nice flashback coming back here,” said Miller, who was selected by the Sabres in the 1999 NHL Draft on NHL.com. “I love seeing the people who meant a lot to me over the years. I come to the rink and everyone has a smile on their faces. It was a great time. It’s always a little nerve-wracking because you want to perform well. I love Buffalo so much. It’s an emotional thing.”

The Blues and Ducks swapped 4-1 wins this season, with the season series wrapping up in tonight’s contest. The Blues and Ducks face off at Honda Center tonight at 9pm CT, broadcasted on FSMW and ESPN 101.1.

Dads Hit the Road

For the fifth time in six years, the Blues’ fathers will join the players on this two-game road swing through Anaheim and Vegas. The dads’ trip has been a good luck charm for the St. Louis Blues so far – 7-1 in the eight games they’ve tagged along. Last year, the Blues went to Florida, rallying from 2-0 to beat the panthers, then taking down the Lightning by a 1-0 overtime decision in an electric contest.

“I think they give you just a little extra motivation to play hard,” Blues goalie Jake Allen told stlouisblues.com. “They’re a big reason that we’re here in this position today, so we just play hard for them, have some fun, be a little bit more loose and relaxed. It’s a big highlight of their year – I know my dad looks forward to it every year. It’s a big deal for them.”

Nineteen of the players will have their fathers along, as well as others accompanying Zach Sanford and Troy Brouwer. Ivan Barbashev and Jordan Kyrou will be the only two Blues traveling unaccompanied.

St. Louis Battlehawks Kick Off Season with Win

The hype around St. Louis football (and the hate for Stan Kroenke) was higher than ever as the St. Louis Battlehawks opened the XFL season with a 15-9 win over the Dallas Renegades. Announced attendance at Globe Life Park, the former Texas Rangers stadium, clocked in at 17,026 as Will Hill intercepted a late-game pass to secure the 6-point lead and win over the heavily favored Renegades. Keith Ford scored the first touchdown in St. Louis Battlehawks history, a 16-yard TD run in the final minutes of the first half.

 “It’s very exciting,” said Ford, who previously had a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills. “Coach said at the beginning of the week we were gonna run it until they stopped it. He’s not lying, he wants to run the ball, and we can do that.”

The Battlehawks lead the first week of the XFL in rushing yards (192) on 41 carries, led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (78 yards, 8 carries) and running back Matt Jones (85 yards, 21 carries). “One of my strengths is going out on the field and being able to use my legs whenever I have nothing downfield,” Ta’amu said. “That kind of opens our offense a lot. They gotta worry about our receivers, great running backs, and the quarterback on top of it.”

The defense showed up in this game as well: Dallas went 1 for 10 on third down conversions, and St. Louis held them to just 58 rushing yards. The Battlehawks hope to double up on their road success in Texas this Sunday against the Houston Roughnecks at 5pm.

Blue Notes

Robert Thomas is on  a career-high 6-game point streak (1-5-6)… Ivan Barbashev and his wife are expecting a child (per his spouse’s Instagram)… Colton Parayko has four goals in three games and 5 points in the same span… Alex Pietrangelo is expected to skate in his 745th career game, which will pass Brett Hull for 5th on the Blues all-time games played

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

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