Playin' the Blues
Thursday, 12.8.2011 / 9:42 AM PT
|All I want to know is, who won the fight?
But just in case you missed it: Yes, Corey Perry and the Anaheim Ducks are facing a key game with the St. Louis Blues tonight.
It's the first road test for new Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who is coming off his first win as Anaheim coach two nights ago against the Kings. The Ducks are in St. Louis tonight, Nashville on Saturday, and a date with Phoenix next Wedesnday at Honda Center is the only home game in the next eight for Anaheim.
The Blues (15-9-3) are the latest NHL proof at what a coaching change can do, having sprinted to a 9-2-3 record since former Blue Jacket head man Ken Hitchcock took over for the dismissed Davis Payne back on Nov. 6. They've done it mostly with a stingy defense that has given up two of fewer goals in 11 of their past 15 games. That's similar defensive prowess as Anaheim's last opponent, the Kings (and we all know how that one turned out).
St. Louis has been boosted by the work of former backup Brian Elliott, who has filled in for the injured Jaroslav Halak and put up monster numbers: a 10-2-0 record and league-leading 1.56 goals-against average. But Elliott won't be in there tonight for the Blues, as Halak is reportedly getting the start after recovering from a groin injury. Halak is 4-7-3 with a 2.40 GAA and .903 save percentage, but has a 1.60 GAA and .944 save percentage in his last eight starts.
The Ducks, incidentally, are looking to win two games in a row for the first time since they won four straight following a season-opening defeat. Game 3 of that string was a 4-2 victory over the Blues at Honda Center (with Halak in net), although since that time, both teams have changed coaches.
"We've been pretty competitive," Boudreau said this morning of the Ducks in his three-game tenure. "Quite frankly, we could have won all three games or we could have lost all three.
"We've played three good teams and tonight is the fourth in a row. It will be another really good test."
If you're looking to catch the game tonight with some fellow Ducks fans, there will be an official Watch Party starting at 5 p.m. at one of my favorite spots, The Catch in Anaheim.
Wherever you are, hopefully you'll watch Anaheim take something from St. Louis for the second time today.