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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 7th (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (19-7-5) at St. Louis Blues (19-5-3), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to grab sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division on Saturday, when they visit the St. Louis Blues for a Western Conference showdown at Scottrade Center.
Anaheim picked up a shootout win Friday evening in Chicago, halting a two-game skid with the 3-2 decision at United Center. The win also moved the Ducks into a tie with San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division at 43 points apiece. The Sharks, who are idle on Saturday, lost a regulation decision at Carolina on Friday.
Friday's victory in the Windy City was just the second win in the last five trips to the ice for the Ducks. However, Anaheim has registered at least a point in four straight games (2-0-2) heading into Saturday's clash with the Blues.
The Ducks have won five of the last eight meetings against the Blues, but St. Louis ended a three-game series' skid with a 2-1 home overtime win on March 16 of last season.
The Blues are 6-0-1 in the last seven encounters between these clubs in the Gateway City.
Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in the shootout phase for the Ducks on Friday. In the second round, Palmieri faked to the backhand and lifted it over Antti Raanta. Patrick Kane then had his backhand stopped by Jonas Hiller to end the game and give Anaheim its fifth straight win over the Blackhawks.
"It was a little rough the past couple of shootouts so this is nice to get the extra point," said Hiller. "I got beat on the first one, but then was able to stop the next two and it feels good to help the team out."
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist while Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks. Hiller made 23 stops through regulation and overtime.
Anaheim is completing a brief two-game road trip tonight. The Ducks are 9-7-3 as the visiting club in 2013-14 compared to a stellar 10-0-2 mark on home ice. Anaheim is set to open a three-game homestand when it welcomes the New York Islanders to the Honda Center on Monday.
The Blues ended a two-game slide in their last trip to the ice, as they slammed the visiting Islanders by a 5-1 score on Thursday. St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a goal and an assist to help lead the way in the rout.
It was the fifth straight home win for the Blues, who are 12-1-2 at Scottrade Center this season. After Saturday's test, St. Louis will play three of its next four games on the road, beginning with Tuesday's tilt at Winnipeg.
Derek Roy, David Backes, Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Blues on Thursday while T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk both added a pair of assists. Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for the win.
St. Louis recorded three goals on six opportunities with the man advantage on Thursday after going a combined 1-for-10 on the power play in its previous two outings.
"We were very effective on the power play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We moved the puck, found shooting lanes. I thought all three goals, there was no chance for the goalie on any of the goals."
St. Louis has won six of its last eight games and is currently sitting second in the Central Division standings with 41 points.
12/07 10:42:54 ET
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