St. Louis Blues vs. Anaheim Ducks - 1/18/14
Anaheim Ducks (36-8-5) at St. Louis Blues (32-9-5)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Scottrade Center)
The Line: St. Louis Blues -136 / Anaheim Ducks +124 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
TV: KDOC, FS-MW
In what should be one of the better games of the season thus far, the Anaheim Ducks will head to St. Louis to challenge the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. With arguably the two best teams in the NHL at the moment, it is difficult to find an edge in this game from a handicapping perspective, but rest assured there will be high quality hockey played at the Scottrade Center.
This game just seems to be a bad spot for Anaheim. The Ducks will be playing the second of a back-to-back against the Blues, but making matters worse is that the first leg was against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Against Chicago on Friday, the Ducks fell 4-2 after pulling within a goal in the third period. The Blackhawks jumped out to a two-goal lead, but the Ducks fought back scoring two goals in one minute to make the score 3-2. The Hawks would add an empty netter to finish the game and finish Jonas Hiller’s 14 game winning streak. The Ducks remain the top team in the NHL with 77 points, the leader in regulation wins at 34, and third in the league with 3.4 goals per game.
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The Ducks are also second in goal differential at +48, but the league leader in what I consider possibly the most telling statistic is the St. Louis Blues at +60. Like the Ducks, the Blues also enter this game coming off a loss. The Blues got beat up by the Los Angeles Kings in St. Louis on Thursday. The Blues took the game into the third period at 1-1, but the Kings dominated the final frame and took the game 4-1. Perhaps the most telling fact of the game is that the Blues were not able to beat Brian Quick in-play, with the sole St. Louis goal coming from T.J. Oshie on a penalty shot. The Blues are 8-2 over the last 10, but have dropped two of the last three games.
The Ducks visited Scottrade at the beginning of December and beat the Blues 4-2. Anaheim is 4-1 in the last five meetings, but the home team is 29-9-1 in the last 39 meetings overall. There are a lot of other relevant trends for this game, but both teams are playing excellent hockey right now. It is splitting hairs when comparing goals scored and goals allowed, but the Blues have the decided edge in both power play percentage and penalty kill percentage. Also, as mentioned, the Ducks are playing the second of a back-to-back against two of the best in the West. With all of that, I still think the kicker in this game is the jolt the Blues will receive when top goal scorer Alexander Steen laces up the skates for the first time in 11 games. St. Louis will hand the Ducks a second straight defeat.