Following an uneven start, the St. Louis Blues have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season with Vladimir Tarasenko’s spectacular performance leading the way to the latest victory.
Tarasenko knows the Blues will have a stiff challenge keeping that burgeoning streak going with a matchup against one of the league’s stingiest teams of late. The Anaheim Ducks will be seeking a fifth consecutive road win Thursday night and trying to add to their recent dominance in the series after beating St. Louis less than two weeks ago.
After strong starts to each of the past two seasons, St. Louis went 2-3-1 to open this campaign and suffered a 3-0 loss in Anaheim on Oct. 19. The Blues ended that stretch with a 3-2 win over Chicago on Saturday.
Tarasenko was dealing with an illness before Tuesday’s visit to Dallas but scored three times and assisted on St. Louis’ other goal in a 4-3 overtime victory. He secured his first career hat trick on a power play in the extra period.
"We’ve had some success, and that’s good for us. We don’t have time to celebrate. We have another game (Thursday) against a team that beat us 3-0," Tarasenko said. "We have to get back to work and be ready for Anaheim."
Since opening with a 6-4 loss in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 26-13 during an 8-1-0 stretch. Their seven-game win streak came to an end with a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday but they rebounded with a 1-0 win in Chicago two days later.
Backup John Gibson made 38 saves in his second career shutout, and Devante Smith-Pelly scored on a short-handed breakaway in the third period.
"Coming off that loss on Sunday, we wanted to redeem ourselves," Smith-Pelly said. "We played well. Hopefully we can keep it going."
Sami Vatanen had a pair of goals in the win over St. Louis on Oct. 19 and pushed Anaheim (8-2-0) to 7-0-1 in its last eight against the Blues (4-3-1). The Ducks are 3-0-1 in their past four visits to St. Louis, and Frederik Andersen allowed four goals on 64 shots in two victories last season at the Scottrade Center.
The Blues might not have captain David Backes available for this visit after he was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Paul Stastny remains on injured reserve with an ailing wrist.
The Ducks have a lengthy injured list that includes Dany Heatley, Patrick Maroon and Kyle Palmieri. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy is expected to miss at least six weeks after breaking a finger in a fight with San Jose’s Joe Pavelski on Sunday.
Jake Allen is slated to make his third start in net this season for St. Louis. Allen, 1-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA, earned a 2-1 overtime win at Scottrade on March 16, 2013, in his only other matchup with Anaheim.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has six goals and 18 assists in his last 22 games against the Blues. Corey Perry, tied for the league lead with nine goals, has one assist in his last three matchups.
Perry had six goals and two assists in his previous 10 meetings.
Anaheim’s longest road win streak in 2013-14 was six games from Dec. 6-23 and included a 5-2 victory over St. Louis on Dec. 7.