Ducks, Blues battle Thursday night
ST. LOUIS — The first two times the St. Louis Blues were shut out this season, they responded with a six-goal game. They would be happy if that happens a third time.
St. Louis will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night after losing 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The Ducks are coming off a 3-2 victory at home Monday over the Carolina Hurricanes.
The game begins a six-game trip for the Ducks.
After the Blues were shut out by the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 2, they defeated Toronto 6-4 in their next game. They followed up their second shutout of the season — to Nashville on Nov. 24 — with a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
This will be the Ducks’ second game in St. Louis in a little more than two weeks. They beat the Blues 3-2 on Nov. 29.
When the teams met then, it was the Ducks who were riddled with injuries. Now they have gotten Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg back, but also lost Corey Perry because of a knee injury suffered Monday night. His status was said to be “week-to-week.”
“It’s frustrating,” Cam Fowler told the Orange County Register. “I guess you do kind of become numb to it, just because it seems to be making its way through the team, and to our high-caliber guys. … We’re trying to stay positive, stay focused.
“You lean on each other a lot. The guys that are lucky enough to be healthy and playing, you use one another. You try and rally around the guys that are down. When I was down it was killing me not to play so I understand what those guys are going through.”
Coach Randy Carlyle could only shake his head at the latest injury.
“You play the hand you’re dealt and you go on,” he told the newspaper. “The good thing is we have some other players that are trending back.”
The Blues were relatively healthy for their earlier game against the Ducks, but now they are dealing with multiple missing players as well.
Forward Jaden Schwartz is out for six weeks with an ankle injury, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is out for at least a week with a lower-body injury and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester also did not play Tuesday and his status for Thursday will be determined after the Blues’ morning skate.
“It’s unfortunate, you wish they were in your lineup, but it’s the way it goes, every team has to deal with it,” Blues goaltender Jake Allen said. “We’re not the only team. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and nobody else is going to feel sorry for us because we’re missing three of our top players. We have good depth.”
The absence of Pietrangelo and perhaps Bouwmeester will force young defensemen Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko to log more minutes against the opponent’s top forwards.
“They’re playing great,” Allen said. “It’s great to see from my end. They’re young but they are doing big things for us. They’re a big part of the team now and probably for the next seven to 10 years.”