NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 16th
(All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (20-3-3) at St. Louis Blues (15-10-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - St. Louis forward Chris Stewart is on quite a hot streak
and has helped the Blues rack up victories despite missing several offensive
Stewart will look to stay streaking on Saturday night when the Blues play host
to the Anaheim Ducks, winners of five straight.
The 25-year-old Stewart posted his second straight two-goal game in Thursday's
3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes and has logged six goals and 12 points in his
past six games. The winger has totaled 13 goals and 26 points in 27 games this
year after logging just 30 points in 79 games a season ago.
The former first-round pick also assisted on Alex Steen's goal on Thursday and
has added some offensive punch at a time when the Blues are playing without
T.J. Oshie, Andy McDonald and Vladimir Tarasenko due to injury.
"I feel like I'm generating a lot of offense and getting opportunities off the
rush," said Stewart. "I'm just really starting to work for my chances and its
starting to pay off."
Steen added two assists in his first game back after missing eight in a row
due to an upper body injury.
The Blues have won four of their past five and sit fourth overall in the
Western Conference with 32 points. In addition to Stewart, goaltender Jake
Allen has also been a key contributor. The rookie is 7-1-0 with a 2.33 goals
against average in nine games this season and made 28 stops on Thursday for
his first career shutout.
Allen joined the Blues roster when Jaroslav Halak suffered a groin injury in
early February and after a brief return to the minors has shined as of late.
"It's sort of been a whirlwind last month, what ever it has been. I'm still
taking it in stride," said Allen. "I'm really pleased with the way I've played
and I couldn't ask for a better start, but I'm just trying to stay even-keeled
and get ready for the next game on Saturday."
That contest comes against a tough opponent in the Ducks, who own a 13-point
edge for first place in the Pacific Division and trail the Chicago Blackhawks
by only four points for the most in the NHL.
Anaheim is 7-0-2 in its last nine and is coming off Thursday's 2-1 shootout
win over the Dallas Stars. Andrew Cogliano had a game-tying goal in the second
period and both Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf scored in the breakaway session.
Jonas Hiller made 33 saves and another two in the shootout. He also helped a
penalty kill unit that held the Stars scoreless on five power-play chances.
"We got some bounces tonight that could have been goals and our penalty kills
did a great job helping us and our goaltender again. Those are games that feel
really good to win as a team," Getzlaf said.
Anaheim played without the services of forward Corey Perry, who served the
first of a four-game ban for an illegal hit against Minnesota's Jason Zucker
in Tuesday's 2-1 road victory over the Wild.
Ryan had two goals and a pair of assists in a 6-5 shootout victory over the
hosting Blues back on Feb. 9, a win that snapped Anaheim's five-game slide in
Steen and Stewart each had a goal and two assists in the loss, while David
Backes finished with a goal and an assist.
The Ducks added a 4-2 home win over the Blues last Sunday thanks to a pair of
goals by Perry to earn their third straight victory in this series.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau could have the services of center David
Steckel on Saturday after Anaheim acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs
yesterday for winger Ryan Lasch and a draft pick.
Steckel, who played under Boudreau in Washington, is expected to help his new
club in the faceoff department and on the penalty kill. He has played in 398
NHL games and logged one assist in 13 games this season with Toronto.
03/16 10:31:04 ET