Blues in search of first win in Anaheim in over five years

T.J. Oshie, David Backes and the Blues head to California for their third matchup with the Ducks this season. 

Christopher Hanewinckel/Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks both got key contributors back their last time out.

Neither return, though, led to a victory.

The slumping Blues try to record their first win in Anaheim in over five years Friday night when they face Corey Perry and the Ducks for the third time this season.

When Brian Elliott suffered a lower-body injury against Ottawa on Nov. 25, it left the Blues very thin in net with only second-year pro Jake Allen on the roster. St. Louis signed 42-year-old free agent Martin Brodeur on Dec. 2, and he helped the team win seven of its first nine games in Elliott’s absence.

However, the Blues (22-12-3) allowed 18 goals during a season-high four-game losing streak before Brodeur notched his NHL-record 125th shutout Monday in a 3-0 win over Colorado.

Elliott made his return Tuesday at Nashville and his teammates made sure he had a busy night, allowing a season-high 47 shots in a 3-2 loss.

"That is one way to get back into it, getting a lot of rubber," said Elliott, whose 44 saves matched a career best. "It is not the game we wanted to play, but they came at us, and we knew what to expect."

Now St. Louis is left with three goalies, and it’s uncertain how long the team will continue with that often problematic situation.

Elliott would seem an odd choice to face the Ducks since he’s 0-5-2 with a 3.38 goals-against average in his last seven starts against them. He was in net for the Blues’ 3-0 loss in Anaheim on Oct. 19, their eighth straight defeat there since a 5-0 victory Oct. 17, 2009.

Allen has won both of his starts against the Ducks, including a 24-save performance in a 2-0 home win Oct. 30. Brodeur is 4-0-0 with a 1.70 GAA in his last four meetings with Anaheim.

Whichever goalie coach Ken Hitchcock decides to play will be tasked with helping the Blues avoid a fifth consecutive road loss for the first time since a seven-game slide Dec. 3, 2008-Jan. 2, 2009.

Despite leading the NHL with 54 points, the Ducks (24-9-6) have lost four of seven since a seven-game win streak and are coming off Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to San Jose.

The lone bright spot for the Pacific Division leaders was seeing Perry in action for the first time since Dec. 5. The star forward remains second on the team with 14 goals even after missing 10 games because of a sprained knee and another five in November with the mumps.

"I felt all right. The first game back is always a test, but the legs felt OK and the knee felt fine," Perry told the team’s official site. "It’s just a matter of getting back into the swing of things."

Perry’s return should boost a power play that has failed to convert on 21 straight opportunities since Jakob Silfverberg’s goal Dec. 13 at Winnipeg. Facing a St. Louis penalty-killing unit that ranks 24th in the league after allowing 10 goals in the last eight games could help, too.

Frederik Andersen figures to get the start for the Ducks after his five-game home win streak was snapped Wednesday.

He’s 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA lifetime against St. Louis.

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz, sidelined since Dec. 16 with a right foot injury, has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day. Schwartz is second on the team with 11 goals.

"We’re hoping he’s really turned a corner and is getting close to ready to play," Hitchcock said.