Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (41) dumps the puck in past the block of Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47). (Photo courtesy: Jae C. Hong, AP Photo)
3/11: Blues/Ducks, Honda Center, 9pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1
ANAHEIM – It should be an emotional return to the Honda Center for the St. Louis Blues (41-19-10) when they return to Anaheim to re-play their postponed game against the Ducks (29-32-9). The Blues and Ducks played on February 11th, but the game was suspended due to Jay Bouwmeester’s sudden cardiac episode midway through the first period. The game will be re-played tonight for the full 60 minutes, but the score will be 1-1 to open. Head coach Craig Berube was asked if the return to Anaheim will be an emotional one for St. Louis.
“I don’t know,” Berube said after the Blues’ 2-1 loss Monday to Florida. “Your guess is as good as mine. Once the puck drops we’ll go play hockey. Obviously, before that, players and people and coaches, you’ll have emotions about it all, but once the puck drops you go play.”
The Ducks got a convincing win over the Senators yesterday, leading the Senators 4-0 after the first period thanks to a Nicolas Deslauriers hat trick. The third goal at 11:49 was the fastest hat trick scored in Ducks history, beating Teemu Selanne’s previous record of 12:58 in 1997. While the Senators outshot the Ducks 42-15, Anaheim took their third win in four games by a 5-2 final.
“It’s pretty weird, to be honest with you guys. Just scoring a goal is something special,” Deslauriers said about his first hat trick in 375 NHL games. “It might take me another five games to put a puck on net. It’s something special and fun to do at home.”
Anaheim will play for the second night in a row at home, as the Blues and Ducks wrap up the 3-game season series, each trading 4-1 wins. The goals scored by Adam Henrique and Ivan Barbashev will officially be credited to them after the completion of this game. The Blues play at 9pm CT tonight on Fox Sports Midwest and ESPN 101.1.
Emotional Return to Cali
Some players have reacted differently to approaching the Honda Center again since Jay Bouwmeester was stretchered off to a local hospital a month ago. “A lot of us are gonna be a little bit uneasy,” Robert Thomas said. “Obviously it’s a tough situation to go back there. The memories are gonna haunt you a little bit. For us, we’ll be thinking about Jay and we’ll be playing for him. So we’ll be ready to go for that one.”
After the disappointing result against Florida, however, some Blues are focused on getting back in the win column against a struggling, rebuilding team. “It’s just another game,” goaltender Jordan Binnington said. “We’re happy to see Jaybo around. We’ll go there and go to work and come home.”
The motivation to “Play for Jay” might also be amplified after the announcement that the 35-year-old defenseman will be out for the remainder of the season. “Maybe, I guess so,” coach Berube said. “I’m not sure they’re gonna go there, though, to be honest with you. I know it’s a game, we’ve got to make it up. It’s kind of a weird situation, but we’ve got to go out there. We need the points, so we’ve got to focus on the game. That’s the bottom line.”
The Blues defensemen have combined for an NHL second-best 43 goals this season (PHI, 44)… Colton Parayko matched his career-high 10 goals with a goal last game… Brayden Schenn has six points in his last six games against the Ducks (1G 5A)… Troy Brouwer was placed on waivers in preparation for Vladimir Tarasenko’s eventual return to the lineup
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