Blues-Ducks Preview

While Jonas Hiller continues to shine in goal, the Anaheim

Ducks’ offense has yet to get going.

Picking up the pace could prove difficult without injured left

wing Jason Blake.

Seeking a third consecutive win, Anaheim looks to continue its

home domination of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.

Since kicking off their season with a 4-1 loss to Buffalo in

Helsinki, the Ducks (2-1-0) have won two straight due in large part

to Hiller’s stellar play.

After making 14 saves in a 2-1 shootout win over the New York

Rangers last Saturday in Stockholm, Hiller stopped all 31 shots for

his 12th career shutout during Friday’s 1-0 victory over San


Hiller, who missed nearly all of the second half of 2010-11

because of vertigo, seems to have recaptured the form that made him

an All Star last season.

“I worked real hard to be where I am now. I know it didn’t come

back to me for free, so I know I have to keep working,” he


“I want to make a statement every night, no matter what happened

last year. It’s nice to get these games and feel good out there.

Goaltending is a lot about confidence, and it’s easier to be

playing well if you start a season with these kinds of games.”

Hiller’s efforts have helped Anaheim overcome a lack of

offensive production – the Ducks’ top two lines have both failed to

tally a point this season.

Things aren’t about to get any easier with Blake, who skated

alongside center Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne on Anaheim’s second

line, expected to miss three months with tendon damage in his left


Blake, who had yet to tally a point this season but had 32 in

2010-11 and currently leads the team with 11 shots on goal, was

accidentally cut just above his wrist Friday by Sharks defenseman

Brent Burns’ skate. The accident occurred after Blake fell down

while trying to play the puck out of a faceoff.

“This was an unfortunate, freak accident, but we are pleased to

hear that Jason is expected to make a full and complete recovery,”

Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “He’s a real character

person and teammate, and we look forward to having him back in our

lineup when he’s ready.”

While Blake’s absence surely hurts, a matchup with the Blues

(2-2-0) could help raise Anaheim’s spirits. The Ducks are 13-2-0

with one tie in their last 16 home meetings with St. Louis.

Hiller is 5-2-0 lifetime in this series despite a lackluster

3.44 goals-against average. Left wing Bobby Ryan has notched 13

points in 11 career meetings with the Blues, recording a hat trick

and an assist during a 7-4 win Jan. 12.

St. Louis, which began its current four-game road trip with a

3-2 loss to Dallas on Thursday, regrouped to mount a late rally

Saturday, defeating San Jose 4-2. Kent Huskins and Alex Steen

scored in the third period before captain David Backes added an

empty netter to ice the victory.

Brian Elliott spelled No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak, stopping

34 shots in his Blues debut.

“Credit the guys for getting back on track,” coach Davis Payne

said. “San Jose got us way back on our heels in the second period.

Fortunately, our goalie made some big saves.”

Halak, 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA, is likely to be back in goal

Sunday. He went 1-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA against Anaheim last


The Blues conclude their road trip Tuesday night in Los