St. Louis Blues (22-12-3) at Anaheim Ducks (24-9-6)
|Date & Time||Friday January 2, 2015, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -134 / St. Louis Blues +121 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Ducks and Blues hook up in the marquee matchup of a busy Friday night in the NHL as the league leaders look to pad their stats against one of their Western Conference threats.
The Blues will look to take down the NHL's best in a road clash in Anaheim on Friday night before they head into San Jose to wrap up their California road swing. St. Louis has been among the league's best since the puck dropped in October and it should come as no surprise as they have a roster loaded from top to bottom and have emerged as a team that score the puck with the best of them as the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera are having career seasons. St. Louis is still a bit thin though between the pipes despite having a solid blue line as veteran Martin Brodeur continues to fill in with Brian Elliott on the shelf and the game's winningest goalie of all time will get the nod in this one against the Ducks in what could be a very long night. Brodeur recorded a shutout in his last start but will facing a different monster here on the road against hockey's top dog but as we have seen through his entire career Brodeur can get a win on any day of the week regardless of the opponent and St. Louis is hoping he turns it on against the Ducks here.
The Ducks have been the cream of the crop all season and while they fell short of expectations in last year's playoffs it looks as though they have used that as motivation this season and they look better than ever. Anaheim went out and traded for Ryan Kesler who was highly sought after by many teams and is arguably the best second line center in hockey and his presence allows the Ducks to be even more aggressive with their top pairing of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Defensively, Anaheim has been strong as well and with Frederik Andersen putting up video game numbers between the pipes it is easy to see why Anaheim has had so much success this season and they should be in the running for the President's Trophy all year long. This is going to be a great fight but I think the difference here ends up being Anaheim's schedule after tonight as they have Saturday off while the Blues will head into San Jose for another pivotal show down. I think Andersen will make the difference and Anaheim's depth will wear down the Blues and as such get plenty of chances in on Brodeur.